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Elegy for the Northern Royal Albatross

They called you Grandma - matriarch of Taiaroa Head. Your husband of seventeen years, Blue-Green, named after the colours of the bands they placed around his leg. For over sixty years you returned to this windswept piece of Otago coast to breed. The surrounding sea a golden harvest of fish into which time and time again you dove at sickening breakneck speed. On clifftop nest your last chick, Button, crying to be fed. You fished your heart out on ocean voyage yet he not yet fledged lost weight, but forever present the keen eye and caring hands of Shirley Webb. Most of your life was spent at sea - a radius of continents - Chatham Islands, The Sisters, Hello friends! As always gliding majestically. Born in 1927, you died in 1989, no doubt in some bastard foreign driftnet or deep water longline. Nylon can’t fly nor fools heed the curse of the Ancient Mariner’s Rime. So glide on Grandma, glide on your satin silver wings, for great will be forever your beauty the memory of you brings - three million miles flown lost at sea. Written: 1991 *Grandma was lost at sea aged at least 62 years. *She was at the time the oldest banded breeding albatross recorded. *Taiaroa Head is in Otago, New Zealand. *Shirley Webb was a conservationist and guide who lovingly looked after the albatross breeding colony. *As of October 2022 Button still returns to Taiaroa Head to breed. He is 33 yo.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2022

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Date: 3/16/2024 10:26:00 PM
Enjoyed reading this. Let’s hope Button lives to Grandma’s age. I learnt something today so well done.
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Date: 1/17/2022 4:11:00 AM
Interesting information about the Albatross and the lady who cared for them. I have never seen one, but I can imagine the beauty of one gliding over the ocean. Thank you for dropping by my page and taking time to comment on my work. Sara
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Date: 1/16/2022 9:44:00 AM
This is a beautiful and splendid tribute to the majestic bird. Well-written and compelling in the interest of preservation. Good job, Craig.
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Date: 1/16/2022 5:57:00 AM
A loving memorial to your grandma, who lost her life while assisting in the feeding of the Albatros. Moving poetry that evokes a tragic tale.
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Book: Shattered Sighs