By Terence Lindsey

· Illustrated and available consultant to this targeted aviatorDespite their iconic cultural prestige, actual albatrosses are principally restricted to the area mentioned via early mariners because the “Roaring Forties” and the “Furious Fifties”, differently referred to as the Southern Ocean. the one such a lot designated attribute of those birds is they trip storms. apart from a couple of shut family one of the petrels and shearwaters, they're the single animals (of any style) that do that. They don’t avoid storms, or flee them, they climb aboard and journey them. The meteorology of the Southern Ocean is so severe that the area may possibly kind of be seen as primarily one huge, immense, unending hurricane. For any non-aquatic animal, this attribute makes the Southern Ocean approximately as inhospitable because the polar wastes or the main severe of deserts. To all however the albatross, that is.This paintings outlines the existence histories of those unbelievable birds, and explores the various major options and strategies that experience advanced to permit them to accomplish mastery of 1 of the main antagonistic areas on the earth.

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The Southern Ocean varies in width from little more than 1000 kilometres between the Antarctic Peninsula and the southern tip of South America to some 2600 kilometres south of Tasmania and about 3900 kilometres south of Cape Town, South Africa. To the north it merges with the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The Southern Ocean derives most of its characteristic features from its proximity to the highest, driest and most frigid of continents, Antarctica. At its southern extent its temperature is forever close to freezing, ranging to around 18°C at its northern limit.

The open ocean is vast, and any food items (whatever they might be) available on the surface can therefore be expected to be extremely sparse and widely scattered. It seems highly improbable that any hungry albatross can afford to pass up an opportunity to seize any item it might encounter on the grounds that it ‘prefers’ some other item. It is far more likely an albatross would seize anything edible it might happen upon, alive or dead, regardless of species, place or time of day. In short, it is very unlikely that we would encounter any extreme dietary specialisations in such an environment.

Although their distributions broadly overlap, the sooty albatross is most numerous north of the Antarctic Convergence whereas the light-mantled albatross is most numerous south of that boundary. In fact the lightmantled is the only albatross to commonly penetrate the region of pack-ice fringing the Antarctic continent itself. Nesting islands of the sooty albatross include Tristan da Cunha, Gough, Amsterdam, St Paul, Marion, Prince Edward, the Crozets and Kerguelen, whereas the light-mantled albatross breeds mainly on South Georgia, Marion, Prince Edward, the Crozets, Kerguelen, Heard, Macquarie, Auckland, Campbell and the Antipodes.

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