Skip to comments.From the Eye of the Albatrosses[Animal Camera]
Posted on 10/11/2009 10:12:10 AM PDT by BGHater
Albatrosses fly many hundreds of kilometers across the open ocean to find and feed upon their prey. Despite the growing number of studies concerning their foraging behaviour, relatively little is known about how albatrosses actually locate their prey. Here, we present our results from the first deployments of a combined animal-borne camera and depth data logger on free-ranging black-browed albatrosses (Thalassarche melanophrys). The still images recorded from these cameras showed that some albatrosses actively followed a killer whale (Orcinus orca), possibly to feed on food scraps left by this diving predator. The camera images together with the depth profiles showed that the birds dived only occasionally, but that they actively dived when other birds or the killer whale were present. This association with diving predators or other birds may partially explain how albatrosses find their prey more efficiently in the apparently featureless ocean, with a minimal requirement for energetically costly diving or landing activities.
(Excerpt) Read more at plosone.org ...
'From the Eye of the Albatrosses: A Bird-Borne Camera Shows an Association between Albatrosses and a Killer Whale in the Southern Ocean'
Epic. Perhaps they will film some 'sea monsters' one day using this type of technology.
Figure 1. Digital still images obtained from three cameras mounted on black-browed albatrosses.
A: a featureless sea, B: an iceberg encountered, C: a killer whale breaking the ocean surface, apparent from its dorsal fin (white arrow) and three black-browed albatrosses attracted to the whale, D: two albatrosses flying in association with the camera-mounted bird, E: a fisheries vessel in the distance (white arrow) with an aggregation of birds, F: a bright light source during the night, possibly a vessel or the moon.
There’s a song that makes mention of an albatross...
Pink Floyd - Echoes
Pink Floyd, Echoes.
“Overhead the albatross hangs motionless upon the air
And deep beneath the rolling waves
In labyrinths of coral caves
The echo of a distant tide
Comes willowing across the sand
And everything is green and submarine....”
Very cool! Thanks for posting.
An albatross is the grandest living flying machine on Earth. An albatross is bone, feathers, muscle, and the wind. An albatross is its own taut longbow, the breeze its bowstring, propelling its projectile body. An albatross is an art deco bird, striking of pattern, clean of line, epic in travels, heroically faithful. A parent albatross may fly more than 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) to deliver one meal to its chick. Wielding the longest wings in natureup to eleven and a half feet (3.5 meters)albatrosses can glide hundreds of miles without flapping, crossing ocean basins, circumnavigating the globe. A 50-year-old albatross has flown, at least, 3.7 million miles (6 million kilometers).
If people know the albatross at all, most harbor vague impressions of an ungainly, burdensome creature, derived from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 1798 poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Turns out, Coleridge never saw an albatross. Also turns out, most people haven't read the poem. In the poem, the albatross benevolently fills the ship's sails with wind and aids its progress. When the mariner impulsively kills the albatross, horror grips the crew; they punish the mariner by making him wear the great corpse around his neck.
But let's not burden albatrosses with our metaphors. Doing so, we fail to see the real birds, which connect us to what's happening in the seas in ways many of us can scarcely imagine.
If you could travel millions of miles fueled by clean, self-renewing, zero-emissions energy, you'd be an albatross. Strictly speaking, albatrosses are mediocre fliersbut excellent gliders. They can lock their wings in the open position like switchblades, the bird merely piloting the glider it inhabits. Catching the wind in their wings and sailing upward, then harnessing gravity while planing seaward, they travel in long undulations. Most birds struggle to overcome wind; albatrosses exploit it.
What differentiates an albatross from, say, a gull, is not just architecture but also state of mind, a brain that is master navigator of so exquisite a body. Swap the software, install a gull brain at the helm of an albatross, and the great vital sailing craft would never dream of daring the distances that an albatross routinely conquers. Gulls hug the shores and proclaim themselves monarchs of dock pilings. Albatrosses cross oceans for breakfast and deign to touch shore only when it involves sex. Land is an inconvenient necessity for breeding.
Granted, on landwhere they seldom arealbatrosses walk with a spatula-footed, head-wagging waddle. Walking isn't their thing; no one will ever film March of the Albatrosses. But oh, when they unfurl those wings and leave gravity to the rest of us, they become magnificent beyond the reach of words....
Up the Irons!!
I don't know the exact species, but there are a few various types whom one can see pecking the surface of the water over albacore tuna. We call them snitch birds. If one knows how to read the sign properly, it is always accurate. Fish near the surface--- right---THERE. Albatross are not reliable "snitches".
I rarely if ever see such small snitch birds elsewhere.
Albatross will visit boats, just to check 'em out, to see what's happenin', it seems me. They are kinda dumb in ways, compared to other birds.
Having spent a few seasons on tuna boats back in the early 70’s, I loved to watch the albatross glide over the waves. They would rarely flap their wings and were usually by themselves - beautiful creatures.