Offbeat

Love Birds—For Life

The beak of an albatross.
The beak of an albatross.

If you’d like a friend for life, then tie the knot with one of the feathered kind, one made famous by a verse from Samuel Coleridge’s poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (1798).

Yes, the albatross.

Famed for its 12-feet wingspan, the bird has another claim to fame. It’s known to make the most loyal mate in the animal kingdom, writes Noah Strycker in his book, “The Thing With Feathers.”

Albatrosses are seabirds, which spend almost an eternity cruising through the air—over oceans—before returning to land, to the native island they were born on. They then begin their courtship ritual: dancing.

For years, they’ll boogie-woogie with several partners, till they pick a favorite. Together, the couple will continue to refine their steps until their moves are as unique as a lover’s fingerprint. Now, they are ready to mate.

They may take a very, very long time to decide on a partner, but having decided, they never leave. They pair-bond for life.

This isn’t true of most birds, though. Flamingos, it turns out, are embarrassing. They break up almost always.

h/t: NPR

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3 thoughts on “Love Birds—For Life”

  1. So is loyalty an instinct or an acquired, deliberated-upon choice, among the albatross species. I think it’s just loyalty by instinct.

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  2. Aha! then the albatross is no different from the weasel. I would admire loyalty by thought and consideration; anything, even a so-called virtue, by biological instinct is to me a mindless thing. I am guessing there is some connection between the albatross’s cohabiting and mating patterns and Darwin. If they mate otherwise, they might just fall off the survival chain?

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