Kauai: A Rainy Island and Albatross

We were able to enjoy a week in Kauai courtesy of our next door neighbor, Donna.  She had enough time- share points to have most of a month on the island.  Her family members came and went and, when she found she’d be alone for her last week, she invited us to join her. 

We were on Kauai in 2013 so much was familiar including the lush country side.

Also familiar were the “rare”and “special” Kauai chickens! 

We saw (and heard) them once or twice.

 Or maybe a thousand times!

We also enjoyed seeing these birds again!  They are Red-Crested Cardinal although they aren’t actually part of the Cardinal family.  Native to Brazil, these lovelies are related to Tanagers.

I accidentally got this cool shot of the Red-Crested Cardinal on the condo deck!  

There might have been crackers involved.

We had been on this one lane bridge to Hanalei before.  

The 5-7 vehicle courtesy is the same as 2013.

Unfortunately this bridge and others were closed by flooding on the day we were to have had a food tour in Hanalei.  It was canceled. 

Rain, in greater amounts than usual, impacted our week on Kauai several times.  We couldn’t go for a plane ride to see the Na Pali Coast on two separate days. There were other excursions that just weren’t as appealing in the rain.  

We were still able to enjoy our week! On a sunny moment in time, Randy and I took a walk in the neighborhood adjacent to the time share complex.

We came upon this sign for albatross crossing!

Very shortly we came upon a few individual albatross!  They were intriguing as we knew almost nothing about them. My trip notes said “research albatross” so I did.

I went specifically to the site www.albatrosskauai.com  Their information is extensive, but I’m shortening your education to just a brief summary:

There are 22 species of albatross world-wide but the ones that visit Kauai are called Laysan albatross.  They have wing spans of over six feet.  

Laysan albatross spend most of their lives on the waters of the Pacific.  They, and other varieties, may not touch land for years at a time.  The Laysan travel great distances from the waters off North and South America to Hawaii to the Arctic. 

As much as they live at sea, albatross cannot nest on the water.  Each November adult albatross return to land to breed and raise chicks. 

Albatross mate for life.  Given that they return to the nesting site at different times, researchers believe they don’t travel together throughout the year.  A mate left alone will usually pair up with another.

Black-Browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophrys) pair, Falkland Islands.

Many hundreds of thousands of albatross nest in the northern Hawaiian islands.  About twenty years ago, the Laysan Albatross began nesting on Kauai. 

There are currently several hundred nesting pairs, some choosing residential sites.

Albatross build a nest on the ground and lay one egg a year. Both parents take responsibility for the egg and chick.    The viability of the eggs and their successful hatching is about two thirds of eggs lain.

One parent stays on the egg while the other flies thousands of miles north to feed.  The journey takes one to two weeks while the remaining parent never leaves the nest, even to eat themselves. 

The gestation period is 70-80 days.

At three weeks of age, the chick is left “home alone” for days at a time while both parents go on the food cycle to bring regurgitated “take out” for the growing chick.  

The chick is fed this way for four months.  Combined, the parents make 25-30 trips traveling about 60,000 miles.  

The chick grows to its adult size during this time. At about six months, an internal clock and compass leads the chick, independently, to the edge of a cliff where it runs and jumps and flies.  

It probably won’t touch land again for 3-5 years when it will return to it’s place of birth to find its own mate and start the cycle again.   These are pretty fascinating birds!

Next up:  We learned about the growth and use of noni.

About Serene

Former full time RVers, transitioned to homeowners and travelers. We've still got a map to finish! Home is the Phoenix area desert and a small cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona.
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3 Responses to Kauai: A Rainy Island and Albatross

  1. Catie says:

    Wow. Interesting albatross info. Thank you. Gord and I have been to the Cook Islands , however never to the Hawaiian Islands. You do make it look appealing. 😀❤️🤗

  2. Mark McClelland says:

    We visited Hawaii (The Big Island and Kauai) in 2013 as well. Saw the chickens and the cardinals, but totally missed out on the Albatross’. Bummer!

  3. That’s a fantastic capture of the red-crested cardinal in flight!

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