Albatross vs. Albatross
November 24, 2021 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Climate change causing albatross divorce according to a new study, as reported by Manish Pandey for BBC News. posted by misteraitch (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Initially read Mandy Patinkin for Manish Pandey and thought Oh, boy! what?
posted by y2karl at 2:04 PM on November 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

"Hello, my name is Albert Ross Montoya, you rilled my feather, prepare to di-
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:00 PM on November 24, 2021 [8 favorites]

Initially read Mandy Patinkin for Manish Pandey . . .

I’m so glad I’m not the only one!
posted by [insert clever name here] at 5:11 PM on November 24, 2021

IRFH: that is a work of genius that is being widely underappreciated.
posted by hippybear at 9:27 PM on November 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

This is a really interesting phenomenon. It's tempting to anthropomorphise when we think of albatross relationships, since they are long-lived birds and those relationships take place on a timescale comparable to our own. (Wisdom, a Laysan albatross, is the world's longest-lived known wild bird and recently had a chick at age 70.)

(Wisdom's species lives in the North Pacific; the black-browed albatrosses in the study are Southern Hemisphere birds)

But in a non-anthropomorphic way, albatross partnerships are a barometer of their well-being, which is also a barometer of their ecosphere as a whole. And the glass looks to be falling.
posted by Pallas Athena at 11:54 AM on November 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

I knowww you, verrrry welllll /
you are unbearrrable /
I've seeen you up farrrr toooo close / etc.

only the / oooo me / ooooo me
posted by clandestiny's child at 5:32 PM on November 25, 2021

I can't find the energy to be flippant about this.
Another theory is albatross stress hormones go up in harsher environments, such as when waters are warmer.

With tougher breeding conditions, and food scarcity, it can cause more stress and a partner can be blamed for their "poor performance" - which can ultimately trigger divorce, Francesco says.
I wouldn't be shocked if poor breeding results are also the cause of microplastics and chemical hormones in their diet. Certainly their chicks are dying in large numbers [Guardian link; contains graphic photos of dead birds] which probably also results in the parents leaving each other for "better" mates.

We're so far past these poor creatures being the canary in the coalmine. One of the tragedies of the next few decades is going to be watching species like this slowly funnelled towards functional extinction in the wild.
posted by fight or flight at 9:55 AM on November 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

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