Wednesday November 28, 2018
It is always very exciting when the first returning Albatross is sighted out on the bluff. Lola was checking every day for the first returnee and last weekend she found the first male bird standing under the ironwood trees waiting for others to return but most importantly his mate. This male is an old timer that has been breeding here since the beginning. Last year, he and his mate “took the year off” from breeding. Generally, a male and female albatross mate for live with 1 chick per year. They will breed for 3-4 years and then take a year off with no chick. The breeding and raising the chick is very demanding on their bodies as the demands of feeding the new chick for 5 months wares on their physical strength.
The breeding pairs first sing and dance for an hour upon returning for the year. Then they mate, the female “builds” or mounds a nest of pine needles on the ground for the egg. She lays the egg and starts the incubation process without leaving the egg for months. The male jumps of the cliff, flaps his wings once, locks his wings and glides for 3 days back to Alaskan cold water to eat squid, their primary food. It is too warm in the Hawaiian waters for the squid to be in abundance. The male gorgeous himself on squid, takes off, flaps his wings once and glides 2000 miles of open ocean to our hillside!! (Amazing GPS)
He lands on our bluff and regurgitates the squid to feed his mate who is sitting on the egg – in 10-15 minutes. He take off and flies back to Alaska for more squid and another return trip. He does this amazing feat – back and forth- for 5-6 months to feed his mate and the chick once it is born. Dedication!! Once the chick is born and able to sit in the nest on the ground, the female begins the same journey of back and forth with squid from Alaska to feed the new chick.
Simply an incredible adventure every year to raise a new chick. Enjoy the current photos and watch for the new chick photos in February when they will be hatching. Remember Ruffles from last year? Last year’s winner of the Name that Chick contest, will not return back to our bluff until 4 years old to socialize with other “juvenile” adults and begin breeding here when about 7 years old.
You may always follow the birds during the breeding season as Lola is always posting new photos on Facebook and Instagram.
We’re lucky enough to have two of nature’s gems, Laysan albatross and Noni fruit, in abundance on our land. We’re very excited to announce that the first of the Laysan albatross that make their home on our organic family farm on Kauai have returned! Every year, my family and I watch for these first brave travelers to return. Soon, they’ll start nesting! If you’ve been following us for a while, you probably know about the albatross sanctuary on Hawaiian Organic Noni’s coastal hillside of Kauai. These birds have been returning to our land year after year, slowly growing their colony.
These large black and white birds are among the most resourceful, efficient animals we know, making them perfect neighbors for our land. What makes them so efficient is their ability to brave the weather, conserve energy, and work together.
Every year, the albatross travel over 3,000 miles from our noni farm to Alaska and then make the same journey back. They make the trek even in the worst conditions, searching for tasty squid and fish. These birds can do this without running out of energy thanks to their gliding technique, which allows them to conserve their strength.
They’re also very dedicated birds. Not only do they find lifelong mates to share the Hawaii sun with, they also work hard to provide food for their whole family. Talk about romantic!
Usually, adult albatross begin arriving in early November and nesting by late November. Young adult albatross start arriving back early January and spend three to four breeding seasons socializing and courting potential mates. The chicks usually hatch around February, and develop wing feathers by July when they fledge.
This year’s hatchlings were a little later from last year, but they are just as cute. At only about 7 ounces, albatross chicks look like silly balls of grey fuzz in comparison to their elegant parents.
These babies will stay on our land for several months as they grow up. Soon they’ll begin to look more like their mom and dad, getting as large as 25 pounds with 6-foot wingspans. They need their feathers big and strong to make the trek across the ocean by the time they turn seven months old, as they will be making that journey each year for the next half century! Quite a lifespan in bird years.
Did you know? Adult albatross can drink sea water to hydrate themselves. They belong to a group of birds called tubenoses. They have a salt gland that extracts salt from their blood, which is then excreted through bony tubes in the bill
You can also check out our YouTube channel for video footage of the albatross on our farm as they nest.
Our Hawaiian organic Noni farm was a natural habitat for albatross before we arrived. We're proud to preserve the land for these birds as well as our fruit. Although wild dogs used to attack and sometimes kill these birds when they attempted to nest, we've built a fence around their nesting space for protection. We're happy to say that the albatross colony is alive and well.
Albatross New Record: 29 Nests this Year!
Wow, what an increase in the Albatross population this year! We originally started with only 3 breeding pairs.
Each breeding pair produces one egg per year. It takes 6 months for the chicks to grow into a juvenile. Around July of each year, the juvenile Albatross flies from the breeding grounds to the cool Alaskan water filled with squid (their main food). The juveniles remain there for 4 years. After that time, the juvenile returns to the hillside where it was born to socialize with other young adults. When they turn 7 years old, they pick a mate for life and the cycle of life starts all over again.
Did you know? Albatross nest on the ground for 6 months with no protection.
Early on, dogs would find the breeding area and kill most of the birds. Eight years ago, we fenced the 5 acre breeding area that's connected to our farm protecting the Albatross. Once we fenced the breeding area, the population grew from a mere 3 breeding pair to a whopping 22 breeding pair last season.
This year’s current count in the breeding area is 29 nests!
Everyone here is really pleased and the Albatross seem very happy.
Oh Boy and Girl (it's impossible to know if the chick is a boy or girl)!! We have 29 nests this year with one chick per nest. Not all the eggs have hatched, but it is very exciting to visit the nesting area each day to see a new chick. Currently 10 new chicks have hatched!! The photos speak for themselves.
On our home page, we have created an ‘Albatross chick” link under the Media section. You will find photos from the past three years and lots of information about the Albatross and their amazing journey from Alaska to the hillside fronting our organic noni farm to breed year after year.
DNA test on Wisdom, a female Albatross that breeds on Midway island, has shown that she is the oldest known alive bird in the wild – worldwide. She is 67 years old, has raised 30-35 chicks and traveled millions of miles in her lifetime!
It’s that time of year again! The Albatross Colony has grown from 22 breeding pairs last year to 29 breeding pairs this year – we are very happy and proud parents!! We started many years ago with only 3 breeding pairs. After fencing in the 5 acre Breeding Area to keep the dogs out, the colony has flourished. Albatross are wild seafaring birds that return each year from Alaska (2000 miles of open ocean) to breed on our hillside overlooking the ocean. Being seafaring birds, the Albatross do not know how dangerous dogs are to them and their young. It was a big problem until we fenced the area to protect them.
Lola, my daughter, photographs the adults and new chicks. She has submitted the following “new chick” photos. We kindly ask you to vote for your favorite photo. The chick with the most votes will be the star entry for our “Name that Chick Contest”. We had over 400 names suggested last year!! Remember Ruffles?
You may vote on our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/RealNoni/
Chick B is the winning Albatross Chick!
And the Winner is:
We had 480 name suggestions last year so get your thinking caps on as the winner gets a free Noni Fruit Leather package and both of the 4 oz. lotions!
NAME THAT CHICK CONTEST ENDS SOON – MAY 31
And the Winner is: Elvis
It was a long dinner night with the family. After much debating, discussion, and friendly votes, each of us picked our top 20 names. From there we chose the top 10, and finally narrowed the selection down to the consensus top 5. Over many desserts, the winner was picked. The family thought the chick looks like an "Elvis" in stature and the way he is looking at you in the photos.
Many thanks to to everyone for the many, many, fine name suggestions (8 pages of possible names).
You will all be receiving a Noni Fruit Leather and a bottle of each lotion (Noni Lavender Lotion & IcyHeat Noni Lotion) and maybe free guitar lessons from Elvis!!
ELVIS HAS NOT LEFT THE “BUILDING” (BREEDING AREA) YET
It will not be long before Elvis leaves for Alaska. He is starting to mature, losing his gray downy feathers with his new sleek big white feathers for flying. Elvis will pick his time to finally take his first flight without the help of any adult. Both parents are currently making the 6 day round trip flight from our bluff to Alaska to gorge themselves on squid to feed Elvis.
Therefore, his natural instincts tells him how to fly and during his first flight. Elvis will glide for 3 days to Alaska to feed on squid and mature. Four years from his first flight, he will GPS the 2000 miles from Alaska to the hillside he was born on to socialize with other young juvenile Albatross. When he turns 7-10 years old, he will pick a mate for life and begin breeding on our hillside.