Hawaiian Petrels: Refugees of the Sea

Hawaiian petrels aren’t the largest seabirds in the ocean. They’re no albatross. But with a three-foot wingspan, they can still cover some ground–er, water. According to the Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project, an adult bird will fly over 6,000 miles in a  single foraging trip to provide a meal for its chick. I’d say that’s impressive. I mean, I…

Moving Forward By Returning to Traditional Ways

I’ve always said that one of the things I love about living in Hawai`i is its activist mentality. When people want something done, they take action. Likewise, when they don’t want something to happen, they step up, as well. Hawai`i is a place where people raise their voices. I dig that. Last week, a story…

The Big White Birds Are Back.

They. Are. Back. Along with winter swells and humpback whales, Laysan albatross are returning to Kaua‘i to breed. The first I saw was KP787, a band number I recognized immediately, a known nester, presumably a male, because I’m told they arrive first. And, so, the new season begins, even though it seems the last chick…

Do Animals Have Personality?

My thick, Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, unabridged, defines “personality” as “the quality or state of being a person and not an abstraction, thing, or lower being: the fact of being a individual person: personal existence or entity: capacity for the choices, experiences, and liabilities of an individual person.” There are six varying definitions of…

Two Ways To Fledge

Today, we said goodbye to the Laysan albatross chick featured on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology webcam for the past five months as she took to the air for the very first time. Just after sunrise, Niaulani hopped atop a rock wall, flapped her wings really hard, and stepped off a cliff, taking a leap…

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…