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Black-footed Albatross, Graceful Giant

Soaring for miles, with barely the flap of a wing!

Just a couple dozen miles off the Northwest coast, immense dark birds with long, saber-shaped wings glide without effort above the waves. These graceful giants are Black-footed Albatrosses, flying by the thousands near the edge of the continental shelf. Black-footed Albatrosses do not breed until they are at least five years old, and after the young leave their breeding colony, they spend their first three years at sea.

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Transcript: 
BirdNote®
Black-footed Albatross, Graceful Giant

By Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote!
 [Sound of waves and sea breeze and call of the Black-footed Albatross]
Just a couple of dozen miles off the Pacific Coast, immense, dark birds with long, saber-shaped wings glide without effort above the wave-tops. These graceful giants are Black-footed Albatrosses, flying by the thousands near the edge of the continental shelf.
[Sound of waves and sea breeze and call of the Black-footed Albatross]
Albatrosses arc and coast over the ocean for hours with hardly a flap of their wings. Making the most of wind currents and shifts in air pressure, these wondrous seabirds seem to levitate over the water.
[Sound of waves and sea breeze and call of the Black-footed Albatross]
Black-footed Albatross numbers peak off the coast in summer. Many adults return to the Hawaiian Islands during our winter and spring, to court and nest on sandy islands.
In Hawaiian waters, the Black-footed Albatross collects squid and masses of flying-fish eggs with its long, hook-tipped bill. Adult birds may fly hundreds of miles at sea to provide food for the single, goliath nestling, which looks more than a little like a portly, gray, recumbent version of Big Bird.
[Black-footed Albatross adult with begging nestling]
The writers of BirdNote include Bob Sundstrom, Ellen Blackstone, Todd Peterson, Dennis Paulson, and Frances Wood. You can come to our website, birdnote.org, and read their scripts anytime. I’m Michael Stein.
###

Sounds of the Black-footed Albatross provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Call of the adult and begging call of the young recorded by W.V. Ward.
Ambient track provided by Kessler Productions
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org          October 2017

ID#100705BFALKPLU              BFAL-01b

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