Letter | Published:

Notes on the Mode of Flight of the Albatross

Nature volume 23, page 125 | Download Citation



WHEN watching the albatross one is struck with the fact that the bird gets up to windward without appearing to use his wings to a degree sufficient to account for the same. The sailors are satisfied with the explanation that he beats to windward. The conditions are of course not analogous to those of a ship sailing to windward. If the wind be very light, or if there be a calm, occasional powerful and obvious flapping of the wings occurs. If there is no wind, the birds often settle on the water round the ship. In very heavy weather the birds disappear altogether, probably settling on the water. Except that for breeding they resort to the islands, I believe they frequent the open ocean, where the surface is seldom without more or less swell.

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