Wednesday, August 16, 2006


My friend sent me to these pictures of an albatross that a colleague of hers found on the beach. It had landed or washed ashore in California and looked to have died quite recently. This is interesting not only because something like 19 of the 21 kinds of albatross are nearly extinct, or because it has an 88" wingspan, but because it wears a leg band...from Japan!

Once we had albatross in the Atlantic but they think that a round of global warming submerged their major colonies many years ago. Did you know that that saying about having an albatross around your neck is from the same poem as "Water, water, everywhere/Nor any drop to drink?" It's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." (Coleridge) Most people know that water line but not that it's from a fairly creepy 18th century poem.

You'll also be happy to know you can sing that poem to the tune of Gilligan's Island:

Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung...

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
a tale of a fateful trip...

I am full of useless information.



At 11:57 AM, Blogger squid said...

We saw albatrossi in the Galapagos last summer. There's one island where they breed. They're so heavy they have to waddle from side to side like drunks just to lift their feet to walk, not easy on bumpy lava ground. There's a sea cliff the locals call Albatross Runway because they only way these birds can get airborne is to run and jump off it. The ones we saw were white, not brown though. Very cool.


Post a Comment

<< Home