Princeville welcomes first chick

  • submitted photo

    The first Princeville albatross chick of the season hatched on Monday.

A little, fuzzy chick has hatched in Princeville, signaling the beginning of that area’s Laysan albatross chick season and hailing the incoming of many more seabird babies throughout the North Shore.

Confirmed Monday morning by Cathy Granholm, a resident who has been collecting data on a small colony of nests in a Princeville neighborhood for the past 15 years, the hatching is the first of about 14 nests in the neighborhood.

“This is the second egg I found this year, but the first one was abandoned,” Granholm said. “So, this is the oldest of the good eggs that’s hatched.”

It generally takes about 65 days for an albatross egg to hatch, and Granholm said the pairs that nest follow that timeline almost exactly.

“There’s another at the golf course that’s maybe starting to pip today,” she said.

Pipping is when the chick inside the egg breaks through the shell with its beak. According to The Cornell Lab, it takes about three days for a chick to hatch once pipping begins.

Meanwhile, a couple nests away, neighbors hosting the the Laysan albatross pair known as Mr. and Mrs. Clackypants noticed the pair had lost their egg. Upon closer examination, Granholm says the egg was squished, which isn’t the first time that’s happened for this pair of seabirds.

“Last year, their chick died at a very young age, and two years before that, the egg was squished,” Granholm said. “That’s very sad.”

She said she expects the birds to reunite at least once more in the neighborhood before they go their separate ways, and back out to sea.

Eggs will start hatching between now and mid-February at Laysan albatross nesting colonies along the North Shore, some located on private property, some located at the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, and others tucked throughout neighborhoods.

Fledging ­— where the baby albatross take that fateful leap onto the wind and catch their first flight — usually starts in June and goes through July, with an occasional late-hatcher leaving in August.

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Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or at jelse@thegardenisland.com

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