Albatross Chick

The albatross on Kaua’i (moli in Hawaiian) nest on the north shore, on the bluffs from Kilauea to Princeville. We ran into these while walking near the Princeville golf course (the Makai, I believe).

AlbatrossParents

They “nest” in the rough grasses between the trees on the edge of the course, right next to the houses that line the fairways. I say “nest” because it just seems like they sit in the open, and I don’t believe they really make a nest.

AlbatrossChick

We were watching the albatross from a safe distance, about 100 feet (we have a new camera with a big zoom). While we were there, the volunteer albatross “caretaker” made her daily rounds. She checks on the birds in that area every day to make sure they’re doing well. She kindly answered some of our questions:

  • These are Laysan Albatross, nowhere near as large as the Wandering Albatross who have the largest wingspan of any bird (up to 11 feet).
  • The parents fly out to sea looking for food to bring back and feed the chick. Sometimes they are away for 10 days and go as far as Alaska, just to find a meal.
  • There are actually two different chicks in these photos. The one on top is just to the right of the parents. The one on the bottom was just sitting there, waiting for his parents to return.
  • The chicks take about 5 months to grow and fly on their own. We took these pictures on our last vacation on Kaua’i two months ago, so the chicks are probably looking more like their parents, but still not taking off.
  • Hawaii had no natural land predator, which is why the albatross chicks are safe on their own. Unfortunately, unleashed dogs are now their greatest threat and end up killing a few each year.

Update: Here is a sign with more information that is usually posted when an albatross nests out by the main road in Princeville, along the walking path by the other holes of the golf course.

AlbatrossSign
Click for large version

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