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….

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,…

How Extreme Birds Inspire Us to be Better Humans

Memorial Day. Graduation. Father’s Day. The solstice. For most people, one of these marks the beginning of summer. For me, these calendar events signal the coming completion of albatross season. Albatross? You mean those big white birds with wingspans longer than I am tall who glide over the surface of the sea as gentle as…

Holy Mōlī: Albatross and Other Ancestors

In the days before Cook introduced Hawai‘i to the world and an onslaught of foreigners arrived. Back in the days before the old religion was abolished and missionaries arrived on scene. I’ve read that winged creatures represented messengers of the gods, because, unlike mere humans, birds can fly to great lengths and heights. Places far…

Wet and Wild.

Today is World Wildlife Day, and if you’re wondering, yes, I did spend it with wildlife—as well as, the wild Kapaa traffic, too.