March 14, 2016: Left alone
New feature: check the "Video" page to view a 15 minute video on the life cycle of Albatross chicks.
1. “Journey”, shown here with her mother KP252, is about 3 weeks old in this photo. The parents can no longer cover the chick. At about this time, both parents must be involved in bringing back food for the fast-growing chick.
2. So, for the first time, the chick is left entirely alone. The chicks appear to be entirely comfortable being by themselves, although the human reaction to seeing this is concern and amazement. Trips for the parents to the prime feeding grounds take about 10-14 days, as far away as the Arctic Circle.
3. Dad is back to feed. The adult predigests fish and squid to regurgitate nutrients. Besides the nutrients, the adult’s digestive system desalinates water for the chick. This is the chick’s only source of fresh water. One parent generally returns to feed every 5-7 days.
4. This is another chick in the neighborhood, nicknamed Kerwin. One of his parents is resting beside him before heading back out to gather food.
5. Non-parent adults spend a lot of time socializing. At any one time, 10-15 adults may be in the area. In addition to unattached older adults, we are always glad to see returning chicks. The bird on the right was hatched in this yard in 2010.
6. Her nickname is Joy, K768. Her parents were KP517 / KP465, a long time pair who had raised 7 chicks over the years. The male, KP517, failed to return several years ago, probably killed at sea in a fishing accident. The surviving female continues to spend time here and has been seen courting other males. Hopefully, she will find a mate soon.
7. This is Joy one day after hatching in 2010.
8. From the same hatching season, we have seen Barney. Barney is circled on the right. To the left you can see Journey and her father KP618. KP618 also Barney’s father.
9. The latest returnee is Winslow. This photo was taken just minutes after he arrived on land for the first time since he fledged in 2012. For the last 4 years he has been living on the open ocean, so he was very unsteady on his feet, walking like a drunken sailor.
10. Now almost 6 weeks old, Journey is trying out her wings. In the next 4 ½ months, her little stubby wings will grow to over 6 feet long.
11. This is a close-up of Journey this morning. She is a fine looking lady. LAST SLIDE