Albatross around your neck…From whence did this idiom derive?…The wonder of Kauai continues…

The beaks of the Albatross are used for preening and for signs of greeting. Or, they may be used in aggression if an intruder threatens them or the nest.

As we continue to discover more and more about the Laysan Albatross nesting in the nearby neighborhood, we’re reminded of the idiom, “an albatross around one’s neck,” implying a daunting burden one must carry.

This mom or dad was clacking at the chick hidden beneath the greenery. It was quite funny. If only we knew that she/he was telling the chick.

In researching the source of this expression, we came across this website readily providing us with a suitable explanation satisfying our curiosity:


A burden that some unfortunate person has to carry.


This phrase refers to lines from the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in which the eponymous mariner, who shoots an albatross, is obliged to carry the burden of the bird hung around his neck as a punishment for and reminder of his ill deed.
An albatross around one's neck
Coleridge published the work in 1798, in the collection of poems that are generally accepted as being the starting point of the Romantic movement in English literature – Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems:
God save thee, ancient Mariner
From the fiends, that plague thee thus
Why look’st thou so ? – With my cross-bow
I shot the ALBATROSS.Ah. well a-day. what evil looks
Had I from old and young
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

Of course, this expression has little significance in our frequent observations of the nesting life of the glorious birds having made their nesting home in the confines of a small neighborhood of upscale homes, close to the sea, over the past 15 to 20 years or more for all we know.

“Showing off again?” the albatross of the left asks.

But it does remind us how sensitive and thoughtful we all must be to preserve the lives of the precious creatures that were gifted to our world that we have the responsibility to treasure and protect. And, to wear “no albatross around our necks” for the senseless slaughter of wildlife all over the world.

“If you want to see some showing off, check this out!”
As my sister Julie’s first foray over the next several days as we continue with her eight-day vacation, we anxiously headed to that neighborhood; me, excited to share the joy we’ve experienced from the albatross, and her, excited to see what the fuss is all about.
This pair has thoroughly enjoyed time together often engaging in their usual mating rituals.

She wasn’t disappointed. If anything, she became vocal and animated as I often do at the very gift of the opportunity to witness, in person, the playful antics of these happy birds and now their growing chicks, firmly ensconced in the nest made by their parents many moons ago.

“I’ll get cleaned up while you practice your dance steps.”
Oh yes, I’ve bombarded our readers with endless photos and stories of the Laysan Albatross. But, only through the personal account of the neighbors observing these graceful birds can one grasp the power of their presence year after year, many returning as long time mates, who literally, “come home to roost.” For us, their presence warms our hearts. How can it not?
A lone bird may indicate the mate is out to sea to bring back food for the nest, maybe a young single yet to mate, or may have had a bad egg they’ve finally abandoned and soon,  they’ll fly out to sea to perhaps return another year. A few weeks ago we spotted several birds still sitting on nests with bad eggs, but now it appears they’ve abandoned the effort realizing it would never hatch. How sad that reality of nature.

And for those of you, less interested in our frequent ramblings on these precious birds, please bear with us since it would have been impossible for me not to share the experience Julie and I had a few days ago watching the adult’s playful antics of clacking, pecking at one another, singing, and clomping about on their wayward feet, full of love and life.

The chicks are tucked into tight bundles seldom picking up their heads as we wandered the neighborhood.
Another fluffy baby. It’s difficult to get a face shot when all of them were tucked into a furry ball on the cool windy day.

Ah, would that we humans could swoon with such love and passion in our daily lives. The world would be a different place. If only, we’d take lessons from the creatures that came before us in their simple search for nourishment and love, leaving “creature comforts” behind for the graceful fulfillment of the species. 

When we couldn’t find a face shot a few days ago, here is one I’d yet to post when the chicks were one month old. They were hatched during the first week in February.

After leaving the neighborhood of the albatross, we drove to the Napali Coast and discovered yet another wonder of our world that we’ll share with all of our readers tomorrow, a wonder to us, that is almost as profound as our blissful discovery of the albatross. Please check back.

                                              Photo from one year ago today, March 15, 2014:

Out for a late lunch, Tom relaxed along with me in the empty dining area of the restaurant.  In the center is a fountain filled with roses. For details of our trek through the souks, please click here.

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