Awaiting Albatross

It’s late October. That means leaves are turning the colors of jewels and carpeting the ground beneath trees in places on the continental United States. In Hawaii, the temperature needle hovers around 70 degrees at night, a cool breeze seeps in from the north, and we pull up the sheet to sleep. This is fall….

Outnumbered by an Albatross

The albatross colonies around Hawaii are quiet these days, almost eerily so, while the birds forage in the North Pacific. However, an albatross made an appearance, of sorts, last week in the pages of an online magazine called Zoomorphic. Thanks to the editors of Zoomorphic for the opportunity to write (again) about Laysan albatross. Here’s…

Meet Hawaii’s Avian Climate Refugees

[Are you following me at Albatography.com? If not, you’ve missed some blog posts. Here’s my latest.] Among the hundreds of thousands of Laysan albatross that nest at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge also nests another albatross species—the Black-footed albatross—but in much fewer numbers. The Black-footed albatross is listed as near threatened by the IUCN Red List….

Live! Albatross Chicks on Camera!

[Are you following me at Albatography.com? If not, you’ve missed some blog posts. Here’s my latest.] Hatching is not easy. From the outside, it looks as if nothing is happening. Inside, a busy factory is at work making a baby albatross chick. What starts as a gooey mess transforms into bones and soft downy feathers….

Consider the Egg

Consider the egg. The obvious part, the shell, is made up of calcium carbonate crystals and on close examination, its grainy texture contains thousands of tiny pores. The shell is actually a semipermeable membrane through which air and moisture can pass. I figure that must also be how Laysan albatross are able to communicate and,…

Introducing Albatography

First, let me introduce to you a seabird known as the Laysan albatross. Or mōli, in Hawaiian. This seabird is equipped with magical powers to cause your eyes to widen, your jaw to drop, your opinion of birds to change, and your understanding of an albatross to be anything other than a burden. Albatross will…

Lost Words

A is for acorn. B is for buttercup. C is for chestnut. Or maybe: A is for almond. B is for blackberry. C is for crocus. You recognize these words, right? They’re familiar, right? You can probably even picture the two-toned brown nut with its textured top hat. Possibly taste the juicy blackberry in your…