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 a snippet of the story:

“With their slender wings longer than I am tall, Laysan albatross clock an average of 74,000 air miles a year soaring over the North Pacific. That means if I were an albatross I would have tallied nearly four million frequent flyer miles in my 53 years of life. And, yet, the oldest known wild bird in the world is a Laysan albatross named Wisdom, at a whopping 67 years of age, and she’s pushing five million lifetime miles. That’s a feat of nature hard to grasp with my big human brain or two hands or whatever we use to fathom things.

Where would five million miles take me? From my home in Hawai‘i to San Francisco and back more than one thousand times. From here to my mother in St. Louis—she would love for me to visit more often—and back 1,250 times. Around the belly of the earth 208 times. Ten roundtrips to the moon.

Let’s look at it another way. My insurance agent banks on me putting 15,000 annual miles on the odometer of my car. I’ve been driving since I was 16. That’s 555,000 miles. If I click off 10,000 steps a day on my FitBit—optimistically speaking—that’s 88,000 miles I’ve walked since I started toddling on two legs. If I make one trip by air to see my mother every year—still not enough if you ask her—and another, perhaps, to the West Coast, add another 100,000 air miles for the time I’ve lived in Hawai‘i. We’re looking at a total of 750,000 miles of movement in my lifetime, and that’s relatively little compared to Wisdom. Wisdom makes me look like a wimp.”

To keep reading–and I hope you will–click here.


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Susan Hoerner says:

    I read all the way to the end, Kim… beautiful! Inspiring! I wish I could confidently write “hopeful.”

    Arrive Kauai Oct 8, see you soon!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kim says:

      Thanks for clicking all the way through, Susan!


  2. suegranzella says:

    I read the whole article, and loved it! It’s a beautiful thing how your writing about the albatross shimmers with wonder, appreciation, and awe. It makes me love them, too. Great work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kim says:

      I’m so glad you love them, too. Nature continues to wonder me! Thanks for reading all the way through.


  3. David H. Leopold says:

    In your article you stated. ” That some child somewhere is right now finding a Nobel Prize winning solution to cleaning up the plastic that’s killing seabirds and whales and eventually us.” The child has grown into the person of Boyan Slat from the Netherlands who founded “The Ocean Cleanup Project” who is about to deploy the first of a network of plastic collection devices into the pacific. Anyone, who cares about what the foraging ocean birds should support this effort. Mahalo for the wonderful, moving article on the beloved Albatross.


    1. Kim says:

      Hi David, what timing, eh? I believe his first effort gets under way this weekend. I hope it works. Maybe I’ll be writing about Boyan Slat next. Always good to hear from you.


  4. barbmayerBarb says:

    MAIKAʻI !!


  5. Fantastic reading. Any story about the Laysan albatross and I’m hooked.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s