Whidbey Audubon to host Kaua`i Albatross Network founder

Hob Osterlund will present a virtual education program on a very unique big bird at 7 p.m. Jan. 13.

Kaua`i Albatross Network founder Hob Osterlund will join the Whidbey Audubon Society for a virtual education program on a very unique big bird at 7 p.m. this Thursday, Jan. 13.

The program will be a lively, entertaining and in-depth look at the lives, strengths and perils of Laysan albatross.

Everything about Laysan albatross is superlative, according to the Audubon. They fly unbelievable distances, live longer than any other wild bird and are iconically devoted to their chicks. They spend about 90% of their lives airborne, usually solitarily.

Since all species of albatross nest on remote islands, however, it can be difficult to see them in person. The Hawaiian Island of Kaua`i is an exception to that rule. It is the only place in the world where albatross nest within a sizable community of humans. Laysans likely nested there for millions of years but disappeared when people arrived about a thousand years ago.

In the 1970s, a few birds, likely from Midway Atoll, began visiting Kaua`i again. In 1979 the first chick in perhaps a millennium fledged from its shores. Since then, the population has grown gradually, giving observers a chance to learn more about the brief time the birds spend on terra firma.

Osterlund spent her career as an advanced practical nurse in the acute care hospital setting, the Audubon reports. During those years, she was the principal investigator for the Comedy in Chemotherapy Study. She also performed as a comedy character, Ivy Push, RN, for national audiences.

She now devotes herself full-time to the well-being of Hawaii’s native birds, with a special focus on the Laysan Albatross. She is the author of “Holy Mōlī: Albatross and Other Ancestors.” She produced the website www.albatrosskauai.org, a short documentary called “Kalama’s Journey” and a bird guide for Kaua`i.

The public is welcome to attend the online event but must register by noon on Jan. 13 under the “Events” tab at www.whidbeyaudubonsocierty.org. A link to the zoom address will be sent that afternoon. There is a brief general membership meeting at 7 p.m. and the program begins at 7:30 p.m.

Photo provided
Laysan Albatross in courtship

Photo provided Laysan Albatross in courtship