Writing in the time of COVID-19: Day Seventy One

“At this time, weather is a go for launch,” the voice on the TV said. It was Bob and Doug’s Big Adventure, Part Two.  You could also call it Elon Musk’s Big Idea. The announcers made a big deal of the fact that this would be the first time in almost a decade that astronauts…

Writing in the time of COVID-19: Day Fifty Three

One June some years ago, 19 Laysan albatross chicks were banded. The chicks, some still with downy heads, were days away from fledging, days away from taking their first flights out over the ocean where they’d stay for the next three to five years before returning to land. The day after banding, I returned to…

Writing in the time of COVID-19: Day Forty Nine

For five years, many of us were entranced daily by albatross chicks on the Cornell AlbatrossCam. From late January until late June, sometimes, even into July, we tuned in at all hours of the day and, thanks to an infrared filter, well into the night to watch chicks hatch, feed, and grow into their long six-foot…

Writing in the time of COVID-19: Day Nineteen

Last week, a friend on a walk along a coastline saw a bird and texted me: Friend: Do shearwaters have a super big wing span? White underneath? Dark brown? Me: About three-foot wingspan. And they nest along the coastline. Friend: I’m watching these huge brown birds fish! I think bigger than 3 feet! Diving and…

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…