January 15, 2017
Tender Preening as Male Returns to the Burrow
Senior terrestrial conservation officer Jeremy Madeiros was watching as the male returned—here's his breakdown of the scene: "This is an interesting behavior that I have seen before; the female responded aggressively at first to the arriving male. This is not unusual as the incubating bird becomes quite protective and unwilling to give up the egg to their partner, even if they are desperately hungry! The male is normally quite synchronized with the female and arrives within a night or two of her to take over incubation, as she needs to return to sea to feed after producing an egg one-fifth or more of her weight. The fact that she has been back for  nights before he returned may have something to do with it . However, after several bouts of mutual preening, he seems to have won her back over. It will be interesting to see if she stays on for one more night or leaves so he can begin his incubation stint."