A is for … Albatross

 

A is for Anteater, Aphid, and Albatross.

We’ll look at Albatross.

The albatross is one of the largest seabirds, and spends most of its life soaring and gliding many miles from land. Lifespan depending on sub-species can last 40 or 50 years.

Albatross

 

 

Species: 21 species are on record, although many are endangered.

Size: Wandering Albatross can reach up to 1 metre in body length with a wingspan of 3.5 metres (10 feet).

Habitat: Sky and open ocean.

Location: Pacific Ocean, mainly found in the southern regions.

Diet: Crab, Fish, Krill, Squid

Predators: Humans, Tiger Shark – which lay in wait off the coast during the breeding season; at the time fledglings leave the nest.

Info / Strange Facts: The albatross is one of many seabirds which have the ability to drink saltwater. Some species can spend their first six or seven years in flight.

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13 comments on “A is for … Albatross

    • Hi there Andrea and thanks for the compliment. I had intended to use a photo, the best photos for the purpose were all copyrighted, so as I go through my myriad of creatures I may have to practise my sketching on the odd occasion. 🙂

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  1. Isn’t the albatross linked to bad luck for sailors? And don’t they spend most of their lives airborne? Or have I invented another fantastical creature? Lovely drawing, Tom.

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    • Hi Julia. Thank you for the visit and, the compliment.
      Yes, albatrosses spend most of their lives in the air, coming down mid-ocean to feed, but once airborne after leaving the nest for the first time, they can be ‘at sea’ for a couple of years.
      Yes, there is the superstition about the bad luck thing related to sailors. One train of thought is that it’s bad luck to kill an albatross because seabirds alert sailors to nearby land – which is of course rubbish in the case of the albatross.
      The other ‘bad luck’ theory was born from the poem by ‘Coleridge’ about the mariner who shoots an albatross, which is where we get the ‘albatross around your neck’ phrase. Basically the mariner’s punishment – because the birds were thought to have some supernatural quality, due to them seemingly never flapping their wings.
      Now, I hope you’ll sleep better. 🙂

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    • Hi Beth, and thank you for the kind comment. Sea-birds have a natural desalination plant. A filtering system removes the salt and it’s conducted through glands in the head, down through ‘nostril’ type holes in the beak.

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    • Hi Sandra. Thank you. I’m aiming to make the posts informal, but, at the same time lay the information out in a logical manner. It will give any visitors an idea of what to expect. 🙂

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    • Hi Mary and thank you for visiting and, the compliment. Yes, the idea of land being near might be okay for some gulls, but an albatross could be at sea for months so the notion was a fallacy. As you say – false hope and, in those days it would have meant disaster.

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  2. Hi Ramona and thank you. I explained the saltwater idea in my reply to Beth. It’s wonderful how nature always finds a way to adapt. 🙂

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