satellite view from PMNM
E komo mai; welcome! Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is surrounded by a lei of foam in the middle of the North Pacific; it's a beautiful, special place.

Not only are there albatross on Midway, but many other interesting kinds of wildlife, both on the land and in the sea. Please enjoy exploring FOAM, an educational blog actively done while on Midway from May through August 2010. Posts are added from off-Midway, as information becomes available. If you're interested in a particular topic, please use the search box or the alphabetical list of "labels" along the left side of the blog page.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Growing Up as an Albatross

My chick, P303 -- growing up so fast!  Look at dis picha; can you believe how much he's changed, Barb, since da first time you saw him on May 29th?!  Look: not much down left, just small fluffs on his neck and head.  He's an FFC, a Fully Feathered Chick!  He's fledged!  I really can't believe it.  Soon I'll be saying aloha to him.  Today I fed P303 for da las' time.  Now, when he gets hungry, he'll have to fly away from Midway and catch his own food!

He's already started to open his wings, flap 'em, and hop around when da wind gusts.  Notice in da picha dat none of da odda chicks has wings open, only my chick.  Nothin' wrong wit' doz oddah chicks; it's jus' dat my P303 is one smart chick; he's advanced. 

I remember my small kid time.  My first memories? --being in my egg; really tight in dere.  Da more I grew, da tighter it got.  I remember my wings felt kinda itchy, crammed up against da shell. 

I felt lots better after I hatched outta dat egg; whew!  But den I pretty much had to stay right where my mom laid my egg.  If I moved away, and mom or dad came back to feed me and couldn't find me...well, missed my food!

I also spent a lot of time unda mom or dad.  They kept me da right temperature and protected me from da rain, li' dat.  But my wings kept gettin' all hemajang.  I had to keep 'em folded up tight if I wanted to fit under a parent.

FINALLY, as I became an FFC, I could stretch my wings...and FLAP 'EM for da first time!  Felt great; maika`i!  Den I knew what wings were for!  I could use 'em to fly up to the blue sky, like mom and dad.  I wasn't gonna have to stay in my nest any more.  I one adult Laysan Albatross, and now I fly t'ousands of miles across da Pacific Ocean.  It's a great life, kinda like being Nature's hang glider!

Sooooo, dat's da future for P303, too.  Since he's fully fledged, we gave him a name: `Ōpua, which da dictionary says means "puffy clouds, as banked up near the horizon."  I like dat name; it has plenny mana for him to fly far.  My partner Kanoa wanted to call him Lopaka, or Robert.  Dat's a nice name, but not special enough for my son, P303.  Isn't he handsome?!

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