National Geographic : 1955 Jan
An Albatross Woos His Lady Fair with Song and Dance Could the Ancient Mariner of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Rime have seen the tender courtship of the wan dering, or great, albatross, he might not have loosed the crossbow bolt that brought down the bird. Here, on South Georgia Island, a fine male (on nest) has cajoled a prospective bride into listening while he pleads his case. Already he can consider himself a favored suitor: when the lady first dropped from the skies, many another fine-feathered gentleman tried to inveigle her into matrimony. <-Here she joins heartily in con versation. The pair gabble for 15 minutes or so. Every now and then they stop chattering to nibble each other's necks. + As excitement grows, the birds rise on big webbed feet. Stretching hooked bills to each other, they gob ble, wheeze, and rattle mandibles. Pictures on opposite page show what happens next.