The Art of Taking Off.

Today was the annual Christmas Bird Count in Hawaii. I’ve participated in a few of these over the years but never in Hanalei Valley where I was stationed today. As you may know, the event is hosted by the Audubon Society, getting its start in 1900 during the early days of the conservation movement. Because…

The Many Faces of Laysan Albatross Chicks

You’ve got your Elvis with the long sideburns. You’ve got your classic Bozo. Sometimes, there’s a Mohawk in the crowd. Even a Jarhead. But the goal is a chrome dome, a Telly Savalas. As the longest stretch of time—four months—a Laysan albatross spends on land comes to a close, our chicks are near fledging. Their…

Laysan Albatross Chicks: What’s In a Bolus?

On World Oceans Day earlier this week, I surveyed a colony of Laysan albatross chicks, mere weeks away from fledging. It was a clear day with bluebird blue skies and the slightest whisper of wind disrupting the lazy leaves of ironwood trees. But the chicks didn’t let the lack of air movement deter them. Many…

Celebrate Oceans. Refuse Plastic.

Beach finds last week: Plastic toothbrush; plastic baby powder bottle; plastic hagfish (eel) trap; plastic coat hanger; and a sundry of unidentifiable bits and chunks of plastic in a rainbow of colors—none of it left behind by beach-goers but based on its snagged and worn condition, arrived by water. I imagine a fisherman up early,…

Report from Ranger Rogers: Speaking of Scat.

Wedge-tailed shearwater are back at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. I can tell by the white splotches on the sidewalk leading from the fee booth, alongside the bookstore, and up the slight hill to where the first view of the lighthouse comes into focus. Where nene scat resembles a cat’s leavings and is easily scooped;…

Report from Ranger Rogers: St. Pat and Scat

St. Patrick must have been a friendly guy. I suppose all the raucous celebration of him is testament to that. Because his day—Tuesday, March 17th—seemed to put everybody in a good mood at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge last week. As if the place itself (gorgeous) and the wildlife (cool) living there isn’t enough to…