Red-Footed Boobies Like to Shop at Home Depot. What?

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Red-Footed Boobies Like to Shop at Home Depot. What?

Posted by: Kim Steutermann Rogers
Destination: Kauai
Mar 26, 2010

It's Friday. That means it's "Lighthouse Day" for me, and I couldn't ask for a better day. Sunny skies and 74-degree temperature warm my skin and just enough of a light trade breeze keeps me from overheating.

The red-footed boobies are busy today. A couple weeks ago, the naupaka bushes were trimmed along the cliffside edges of the peninsula on which the Kilauea Lighthouse sits at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai. Admittedly, the place looks a little ragged to me, but, apparently, the red-footed boobies think they've hit the jackpot. Thousands of bits of twigs and sticks litter the ground, and they use them to build and repair their nearby nest sites swaying in the breezes atop ironwood trees.  Hundreds of red-footed booby nests dot an entire hillside at the refuge.

I'm told it's the males that collect the nest-building materials, like the twigs in this guy's mouth. And it's the females that actually craft the nest. When I told one visitor this, she said, "It's like the husbands go to Home Depot, and the wives make the beds." We laughed, and, now, I use her line.

On another note, the female Hawaiian monk seal 028 continues to elude us. She popped up yesterday morning at a beach on the south shore, so the team from Oahu hopped on a plane and made their way here. But, then, slippery, sub-adult 028 decided she had rested enough, and, at 11:00 a.m., galumphed back into the water and disappeared from sight. She hasn't been seen since. I can't help but think that if the darn cell phone instrument we had glued to her back had actually stuck, then, we'd know exactly where she was, and we could have removed that hook days ago. Sigh.



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