We knew it was going to happen soon because this precious Laysan albatross chick was sooooooo ready. Pela (born January 30th, 2019) had been fed by both mom (Dora) and dad (Larry) last week so her tummy was plenty full.
Her body was almost fully covered in flight feathers and every time the wind kicked up just a bit she was spreading her wings and jumping up and down.
Finally she started running up the street and lifting off the ground by a few inches.
Yesterday she "flew" down the block. Now she just had to find the ocean bluff.
This morning Cathy, the neighborhood albatross expert and historian, who had been diligently watching all the birds in Princeville for signs of readiness, texted me to say she couldn't find Pela. Tom, my husband, drove over and did some scouting to find that she had walked to the bluff behind the house where she had been sitting for a few days. Unfortunately, this was not a good jumping-off spot so Cathy encouraged her to walk to the next cul-de-sac where the conditions were perfect for the giant leap. And, that is just what she did within minutes of reaching the bluff. Disappointingly, I arrived too late to see her departure, but Cathy and Tom said she looked exceptionally strong and was out over the ocean within seconds.
Pela is the third albatross chick to leave Honu Point's neighborhood this year. There are still five more who have not gotten up the courage yet, but they are getting ready. We love these birds and feel so lucky that over the years the adults have chosen our neighborhood as the only place in the world to nest among people. Once the chicks leave they will stay over water for three to five years. Then, with any luck, if they stay away from the long line fishing and do not eat too much plastic, they will return to the place of their birth. It seems like a long time to wait, but I can assure you, I will be watching for H762's return. Aloha Pela.
My last photo of Pela, July 21, 2019, one day before she fledged at 9:00 AM.
For a great read about the Laysan albatross, check out Hob Osterlund's book Holy Moli.
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