Did You Know!
- Albatrosses are the largest flying birds
- Albatrosses are so efficient in their flying technique that they spend more energy in landing and take-off than in flying.
- They spend over 80% of their life at sea, visiting land only for breeding.
- Male and female birds form a pair after ritual mating dances and this bond lasts for their lifetime together.
- Albatrosses can travel at speeds of up to 130-140 km/h.
- In the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the albatross is considered a good omen by sailors and to kill one will result in being cursed. (Source: World Wildlife Fund)
Plastics in the Pacific
What’s in a Name?
Birds of the sea have played a major role in stories, myths, poetry and superstition in cultures all around the world. This is in large part due to their incredible ability to traverse millions of miles, the assistance they’ve provided to societies while searching out marine resources and their importance to navigators worldwide.
In Hawaiian mythology birds of the sea appear in stories as important linkages overseas and to the heavens. In Maori traditions they are revered as great navigators who helped their early ancestors reach Aotearoa (New Zealand) from distant homelands, and whose feathers are spiritual symbols of peace. Early Europeans experienced this sense of awe as well. After the first experience of seeing birds such as the albatross many expressed feelings of enlightenment, with some sailors believeing they represented the restless souls of drowned sailors.
However you look at it Manu Kai have sparked wonderment, curiosity and inspiration for countless cultures around the world. And while these are certainly humanistic assumptions based on subjective experiences and symbolisms it is undeniable that these creatures have come to represent all of these things in part because they showcase what’s possible when one sets goals and develops the confidence, discipline and courage necessary to complete them.
Unfortunately, these magnificent creatures are in more danger now than ever before, with several nearing extinction as a result of the abundance of plastics and pollution in our oceans. This represents an unacceptable abuse of some of our most ecologically, economically and culturally important species on the planet, but it doesn’t have to end there. We can all do our part by learning more and taking little steps in our daily lives to ensure that these incredible beings are around to inspire generations to come.