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…

What Is An Albatross?[1]

  al Ÿ ba Ÿ tross \ ‘albeŸtros\ n : any of a number of large web-footed seabirds that are related to the petrels, that form a family (Diomedeidae) of the order Procellariiformes, and that include the largest of seabirds, being capable of long-continued flight and often appearing at great distances from land chiefly over…

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…

Mark Twain: My Albatross.

The oldest known, living wild bird in the world is a Laysan albatross, at 64 years of age. She showed up recently at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, just in time for the breeding season. There are more photos here, if your voyeuristic nature is piqued, of what happens when she and her mate see each…

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…