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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Albatross


.


Waved Albatross (Diomedea irrorata), in flight, Española, Galapagos Islands: photo by putneymark, 17 August 2007




Magnificent in dreamed
air, ungainly on hard ground

stranded, the great sea bird that
once rolled with the clouds
and thought the eye of
the storm a place for rejoicing
now falls from the sky
wobbling on wet wings
with a belly full of plastic






Tristan Albatross (Diomedea dabbena), Tristan da Cunha
: photo by michael clarke stuff, 23 February 2009


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5b/Kerguelen_-_Diomedea_exulans_-_wooing.jpg

Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans), west coast of Rallier du Baty peninsula, Kerguelen Islands: photo by Dimitry Damasceno, 20 September 2004

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bc/Black_footed_albatross.jpg

Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes), Hawaii, Leeward Islands, Pacific Ocean
: photo by Dr. James P. McVey, NOAA Sea Grant, June 1969 (NOAA Photo Library)


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/Laysan_pair_and_chick.jpg

Mated Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) pair: photo by James Lloyd, 2007

File:Laysan albatross chick remains.jpg

Remains of Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) chick at Midway Atoll with clear examples of ingested plastic flotsam. They are the probable cause of death due to their situation within the remains. The Cousteau team has shown that ingested plastic is a frequent cause of death for these birds. This may be due to the fact that floating debris often becomes covered with a layer of plant-life, marine crustaceans and their eggs, which is appealing to albatross: photo by Forest and Kim Starr, 2008 (USGS)

7 comments:

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Yes indeed, on that twelve-foot wingspan, "Magnificent in dreamed/ air" -- but not with its belly full of plastic, alas. . . .


5.11

grey whiteness of fog against invisible
top of ridge, blue jay on redwood fence
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

parallel place, now that is
is therefore there is

also, relative to both, how
physical meaning time

lines of waves breaking across channel,
osprey with fish flapping toward ridge

ACravan said...

Wonderful as this is as a poem and beautiful as this is (until you reach the bottom image) as a BTP post, its true value, I think, is the truth it reveals, publicizes and makes unforgettable. PETA, WWF, and Defenders of Wildlife should all post this. The poem is compact but has great breadth until it falls to earth. To think "the eye of
the storm a place for rejoicing" -- imagine that. I really love albatrosses. Curtis

Julia said...

Oh, God!
I agree with ACravan: this post should be shown everywhere. It's one of the most compelling statements on what we're doing to Nature that I have ever seen.

TC said...

Indeed, the greatest wingspan of any living bird... but almost every species and subspecies of the Albatross is now threatened with extinction.

It seems that our plastic trash floats to the farthest reaches of the globe, as though the oceans were our garbage disposal units.

The reverberations of this:

"...floating debris often becomes covered with a layer of plant-life, marine crustaceans and their eggs, which is appealing to albatross..."

are almost too horrifying to consider.

To the albatross, the lethal bits of plastic come with, in effect, a delicious sugar-coating.

Clever, clever homo sapiens.

Old 333 said...

Thanks for the poem - and the photos. Neat stuff.

ACravan said...

Well, now that Blogger has been semi-restored to virtual life, I would like to be the first to seem to try to say how much I liked Reunion and the Marvell poem, as well as their images. The Marvell poem kept me semi-together over the past day-and-a-half. Curtis

TC said...

Indeed, the greatest wingspan of any living bird... but almost every species and subspecies of the Albatross is now threatened with extinction.

It seems that our plastic trash floats to the farthest reaches of the globe, as though the oceans were our garbage disposal units.

The reverberations of this:

"...floating debris often becomes covered with a layer of plant-life, marine crustaceans and their eggs, which is appealing to albatross..."

are almost too horrifying to consider.

To the albatross, the lethal bits of plastic come with, in effect, a delicious sugar-coating.

Clever, clever homo sapiens.