Monday, July 30, 2012

Albatross


I think the highlight of this trip for me was getting to see the albatross babies nesting in people's yards in Princeville and learning about their unique story.  What amazing birds!  The endangered albatross is very much loved and protected here on Kauai.  Do not disturb signs are placed around their nests so that they can go about their business of mating and raising their young.  And the story is really interesting!  Albatross pairs mate for life and lay a single egg in early December.  The parents take turns sitting on the egg and searching for food.  When one parent goes searching for food, they may fly over 1000 miles and be gone for several days to find the food that they like!  The babies hatch in February and are taken care of by their parents till late June or early July.  When it is time for the baby to fly for the first time, they make their way to the cliff and take off over the ocean.  Then the babies do not return to land for about 4 years.  They spend 4 years feeding and sleeping on the ocean.  Then when the time is right, they return to Kauai to find a mate and lay their single egg and repeat the process all over again!


Here is a baby with its Mommy.  The baby is almost as big as the parent but its feathers are still coming in and it still depends on its parents for food.  This one is having a snack here.  My parents told us we were very, very lucky to see the babies out and so active this day as they spend quite a bit of time tucked away in their nests.


These babies, below, are testing out their wings and trying to figure out how they work.  They still have about a month till they fly for the first time and head out to sea.

Cute!

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