Animal Poachery

Owl Albatross Lizard

Ξ Poem Albatross Notes Song ♫
© 1993..2009 by Andreas Wittenstein. Some rights reserved. (CC)

textual notes to the Albatross Poem

Interestingly, the word ‘albatross’ never occurs within this poem.

arm: The wings of birds are equivalent to the arms of apes, both having evolved from the forelimbs of their common ancestors.

outthrust: The albatross can thrust its wings out further than any other bird: The wingspan of the great albatross extends up to three and a half meters.

with ease: Soaring birds such as the albatross can lock their elbows to keep their wings extended in flight without expending any energy, though they do constantly make fine adjustments in the wings and primary feathers.

elbow draws the lee: When soaring, a bird holds its wrists forward and its elbows back. This configuration directs half the lateral airflow inward toward the elbows, which draw the lee (the downwind) toward the tail, enhancing the tail's steering power.

limbsbreathe: In albatrosses, and birds in general, the lungs connect to hollow pneumatic limb bones (the humerus and femur), so that they actually breathe not just with their windpipe and lungs, but also with their limbs.

all-white dress: Though the adult body plumage in the wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans) and most other albatross species is all-white, the wings and tail typically have black markings, gradually blanching with age.

uncreased: The plumage of the adult albatross is exceptionally smooth, with no slots between its primaries or tail feathers, and typically taking more than a year to complete its incremental molting process.

all but graze the sea: Albatrosses are marvellous to behold as they cruise along impossibly close to the surface of the sea.

calm: So attuned to the vagaries of the wind and the waves are albatrosses that they almost never have to flap their wings.

dreams: It is generally assumed that albatrosses, swifts, and passerines that migrate over long distances actually sleep on the wing, although this hypothesis has yet to be electroencephalographically verified.

my whims, my wants, my needs: Albatrosses are quintessential wanderers, flying wherever the wind and the fish take them, except when breeding and when brooding their young.

lap across the deep: The albatross is a pelagic (deep-ocean) seabird and a master soarer who regularly flies over 1000 kilometers per day, repeatedly crossing oceans and even circling the globe for up to a year at a time without landing.

For more information on albatrosses, see the Wikipedia Albatross article.

To help save albatrosses from extinction, visit BirdLife International's Save the Albatross website.

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