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….

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,…

Introducing Albatography

First, let me introduce to you a seabird known as the Laysan albatross. Or mōli, in Hawaiian. This seabird is equipped with magical powers to cause your eyes to widen, your jaw to drop, your opinion of birds to change, and your understanding of an albatross to be anything other than a burden. Albatross will…

Was Justice Served?

A week ago, I flew to Honolulu to cover the sentencing hearing of Christian Gutierrez, 19, who, along with two other young men, drove to the remote western tip of O`ahu in December 2015 to camp out in a state park. They packed a machete, air rifle, baseball bat, and photographic gear. The three set…

On Endangered Species Day: Open Letter to Judge Castagnetti

The Honorable Jeannette Castagnetti First Circuit Court of Hawai‘i Ka‘ahumanu Hale 777 Punchbowl Street Honolulu, HI 96813 Dear Judge Castagnetti: Christian Gutierrez and the two juveniles involved in the massacre of Hawai‘i’s native Laysan albatross deserve to be sentenced to the fullest extent of the law. Allow me to explain.

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…