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Albatross Breeding Season 2020

By: Lola Frailey Wednesday March 25, 2020 comments Tags: albatross, albatross hatching, albatross chicks, protect the albatross

August 2020

Hope has taken flight! 

Hats off to you all for voting Hope to be our star this season! She did not disappoint. She may have been the smallest in size of her colony this season but in personality she was the most outgoing and friendly albatross we've ever followed. She had us all captivated. As Hurricane Douglas neared Hawaii with 90 mph winds we were so worried about her still being on the ground, she was the last chick waiting to fledge on the bluff. Lola was checking morning and evening and encouraging her to take flight. "Come on Hope you can do it...there's a Hurricane coming you've got to fledge!"

We were so relieved when Hope fledged just hours before Douglas was due, and he ended passing just 30 miles north of us. Double Whew!   

Hope and her buddies from this season will be soaring the skies and floating in the ocean between here and Alaska for the next 3 to 5 years. We so HOPE to see them all return! Safe travels little ones! 

Video of Hope and Buddy showing off their wings!

July 2020

Hope and a buddy are still here!

This is unusual...but really what has not been this year? Hope is taking full advantage of a few extra weeks soaking up summer sunshine and ocean breeze. Any day now she will fledge. What is she waiting on...that we may never know. Is it the chance of one last squid meal from Mom or Dad? A particular trade-wind pattern? The aligning of the stars? The encouragement of her peers...if they've all fledged then so must she? 

Last night, both Hope and her friend who we are calling "Buddy" were still on the bluff. Proudly strutting around stretching out their wings and practicing flaps. Baby fluff feathers almost gone and both are rocking some pretty interesting hairdos. Today she may take first flight...time will tell. 

June 2020

Hope is truly a special one. 

Unlike any albatross chick we've ever followed. She has the most outgoing and curious personality we've ever seen. When Lola goes out to the nesting ground Hope comes running right to her feet to greet her. Pecks at her toes and flip flops and follows her around the bluff top. She even wags her little tail like a duck in excitement! Trust us, no other albatross chick has ever been this carefree and friendly. 

Hope's gray baby fluff feathers are disappearing by the day. Wing flaps, wing stretches and short wobbly runs, hops and skips across the pine needles are the most common activities to preoccupy the time waiting on the next squid meal from Mom and Dad.  

This time next month Hope will have fledged. Stay tuned for our final recap of the season next month!

May 2020

Our 13 albatross chicks have made the three month mark. Underneath their grey baby feathers you can now see their black and white big bird feathers and wings growing in. Mom and Dad are racking up the frequent flyer miles with 5,000 mile round trip flights between Kauai and the squid-prevalent ocean off Alaska. Hope and his/her buddies are no longer staying in "their nest" but following their curiosity as they explore their nesting grounds atop the ocean bluff.  

Soon, Hope will begin standing at the bluff edge with outstretched wings, feeling the wind and testing out wing power with little hops off the ground. Only 6 more weeks until the chicks start fledging one by one. 

April 2020

The time has come to announce this year's winner of our Name That Chick Contest!  First off, we would like to give a huge mahalo to everyone who participated in one our favorite annual events. With all the great names suggested, narrowing it down to just one was no easy task. After a self-isolated family debate via FaceTime we landed on our winner X for her fitting name suggestion. Considering the global pandemic we are all living through one name stood out above the rest... introducing HOPE our 2020 Name That Chick Contest inductee. Hope, something we can all turn to in these troubled times.

Congratulations Donnie! You won yourself a noni gift parcel but more importantly bragging rights.  

Click here for an adorable video of Hope's name announcement! 

March 2020

You’ve been waiting for it and now it's here, Name That Chick!! This season we have 16 new adorable chicks. They are cute as cute can be with their baby fluff feathers and little body wobble. When the chicks aren’t napping they are enjoying the local entertainment, juvenile dance parties! However distracting the dancing may be, what’s really on their mind is mom and dad’s next squid delivery. You can almost hear these chicks chirp the word fooooooood!!!

Now for Name That Chick details:

Chick D received the most votes on our Facebook page. Help us give him/her a name!

The winning name will receive a noni gift parcel and bragging rights for naming our 2020 chick. Noni gift parcel will contain one Noni Fruit Leather 2oz packet and one 4oz bottle of each Noni Lavender Lotion and IcyHeat Noni Lotion. 

Click the link below for the entry submission form. Submit your name suggestion by April 11, 2020. Winning name to be announced late April. Can’t wait to see this year’s submissions!

Feb 2020

Time to welcome the newest members of our albatross family! The laboring 60 day incubation period is finally over. What was once a boring white egg is now the cutest little ball of fluff you ever did see.

The excitement shows when Mom and Dad proudly announce the arrival of their adorable chick. But don’t think the hard work is over, there’s four months of continuous feeding ahead. Their main food source is cold water squid which we don’t have here in Hawaii.

A journey for squid can be over 1500 miles one way and take up to 3 days. Upon returning they regurgitate three day old stomach squid to their hungry, growing chick. If you think noni smells bad, try being on the albatross bluff for feeding time... Pee-ew!

Next month, help us pick the lucky chick that will star in this year’s contest: Name That Chick

Jan 2020

Howling wind, torrential rain, and monstrous surf… crashing into the cliff side home of our Laysan albatross. Although albatross choose Hawaii to escape the North Pacific’s extreme winter, this paradise has challenges of its own. Kauai, being one of the wettest spots in the world, is a tough environment for these dedicated parents to raise their young.

Mom and Dad must endure blustering winter storms for their exhausting 60 day incubation. Both share the responsibility of keeping the egg warm, their tummies full and a watchful eye for predators. We are very egg-cited for this unique eggs-perience of observing these egg-cellent parents!!!

Dec 2019

Finally! Almost all of the albatross have returned home to their nesting grounds in paradise. They make the long journey to Kauai for it’s smooth tradewinds and tropical warm weather. This year we have a whopping 21 breeding pairs! With each couple only able to lay one egg per season, we have the potential for 21 new chicks come February. We do have 5 albatross mates still patiently awaiting the arrival of their partner to begin nesting...which means our nest count has the potential to still grow!

I’m sure you’ve heard of the dance flamenco but have you seen the dance albatross? 

If not here you go!

The albatross and their unique way of showing affection.

Nov 2019

Oh boy are we excited!! Last week, the first 3 adults appeared on our hillside overlooking the Ocean. Within days, more and more have made the 2000 mile journey from Alaska to the hillside they were born on years ago. The Laysan Albatross is a magnificent bird with a 6-7 foot wing span. They mate for life – so within days, the breeding pairs arrive at their nesting
site in front of our farm.
It is quite a sight during the first weeks of them returning as the breeding pairs “reconnect” through singing and dancing since they have not seen each other for 3 months; the end of last year’s breeding season. A pair can sing and dance for an hour in happiness!

Then, within a short period of time, they will mate and the female builds a large nest using the pine needles on the ground. Last year, we had 22 breeding pairs which will probably grow to more than 30 this year as every 7th year, chicks born on our hillside return as mature adults to pick a mate for life and begin breeding here. We began with 3 pairs of breeding Albatross and the numbers just keep growing!

The eggs are due to hatch sometime in February, so watch for this years “Name that Chick Contest.” One of last year’s winners, Maggie, for the name Spike recently attended our free Organic Noni Farm and Wellness Tour. She was very excited to visit the farm and share her many stories with the group on the tour of how Noni has helped her family. Pain relief and skin irritations were some of her many highlights.

Lola will be taking pictures several times per week so watch for the posts to Facebook and Instagram

Stay tuned!

Lola Frailey

About the Author: Lola Frailey