This is a white-tailed tropicbird chick.
When I arrived at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge today, this speckled, little guy (girl?) was sitting on a launch box thinking about what it did wrong the first time it left its nest. It didn’t quite make it out to sea, but someone found it, thankfully, and gave it a second shot at fledging by placing it here, atop the perfect launch pad overlooking the sea.
Here, when it’s feeling ready, it can spread its wings and fly directly out to sea where it will live for years before returning to land to breed. When I left the refuge at 4:00 this afternoon, it was gone. Hopefully, it got it right this time. What I find fascinating is that the adult version of this bird is solid white.
In the public area of the refuge, the wedge-tailed shearwaters chicks are growing. By the looks of their feathers–loss of down–they may be fledging in the next few weeks. It would be great to actually see one take off for its first time.