If you see a dark screen, bear in mind that it might be night time in Hawaii.
Breeding season 2016 has ended happily. See y’all in 2017!
Welcome to an Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) nest from the island of Kauai, geologically the oldest island of the Hawaiian archipelago. The webcam is operated by the Bird Lab of Cornell University. The Laysan Albatross gets its name from its Laysan breeding colony in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, where it is the second most common seabird.
Phoebastria immutabilis breeds at 16 sites mostly in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (USA) and US Minor Outlying Islands, with additional small colonies in Japan and Mexico. The largest colony is found in Midway Atoll. Population sizes of the Laysan Albatross declined twice in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It has a long life span. The oldest known live bird, a female named Wisdom, is at least 62 years old. Given the difficulty of predicting long-term trends for such a long-lived species, and the number of documented threats and the uncertainty over their future effects, the species is projected to undergo a moderately rapid population decline over three generations (84 years), and as such qualifies as Near Threatened. Major threats include introduced predators into islands such as dogs, cats, rats, and mongoose; lead poisoning from paint chips, bycatch in fisheries; and ingestion of plastics. In some places big headed ants are a threat to young albatross chicks.
Biologists describe albatrosses and their relatives (petrels, shearwaters, fulmars, and storm-petrels) as “tubenosed”. Indeed, these birds have a pair of bony tubes above or inside the bill that excrete salt—allowing these ocean-going birds to drink seawater without becoming dehydrated.
Below is an interesting recording of young Laysan albatrosses practicing their mating dance rituals in front of the nestcam. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology two banded non-breeding albatross (K405 and K256) were caught on the cam practicing courtship in front of the nestling. An un-banded non-breeder also joins in the dance. This clip shows highlights from the courtship, the entire event continued for almost 30 minutes: