The albatross return each year to breed on Kauai. Since they are exceedingly ungainly on land (hence their nickname of gooney birds) and require an extensive runway for landings and take-offs, a few roads in our area close to the bluff are prime nesting sites.
The adults return in November. Courtships, egg-laying, hatching, and chick-rearing follow. Eventually the parents leave the almost full grown chicks, and by mid-to-late July all the youngsters have fledged. All, it seems, except one this year.
This one chick is evidently a late-bloomer, or just plain lazy, but I am delighted he hung around long enough for our arrival this week. I’ve had the pleasure of watching him grow during my previous visits in February and again in April, so it’s a treat to witness the final stage in this year’s cycle.
As the chicks lose their baby fluff and gain their sleek adult plumage, each has its own highly amusing pattern of ‘hair’ loss!