Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hawaiian Chicks Rule

The habitat of some Laysan Albatrosses these days is the golf courses on the north shore of Kauai--and on the wild tiny islands farther north(about 130 of them) that comprise the 1,600-mile Hawaiian Archipelago. Moms birth chicks yearly, or every other year, though sometimes gay females pair up, as has been observed on Oahu. They are joined on golf courses by the Nene, the Hawaiian goose that is the endangered state bird. Nene have made a strong comeback in recent years.

Laysan albatrosses live about 50 years, with wingspans more than 4 feet and standing nealy 2 feet tall. Awkward flight take-offs, waddling, and a bobbing, shuck-and-jive mating dance have earned them the nickname "gooney birds." Fledglings leave mommy after 3 years, but don't mate until 7 or 8 years. After this four-year search, they mate for life, just like the actors in romantic comedies.