National Geographic : 1925 Jul
l()onald K.iLcKey A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW Unlike the bird of Coleridge's lay, which "came to the mariner's hollo," the Tanager Expedition foundthe Laysan Albatross strangely shy of ships at sea. Once on land, however, these same birds accepted members of the party as peers, eyed them merely incuriosity, pried attheshiny tripod screws, investigated sleeve buttons, and actually cakewalked up to nibble gently at the author's fingerswith bills that could easily have ripped an artery! Is not this familiarity on land but simple proof that these sea birds have never had a land enemy? At sea, sharks and other foes have doubtless harried them, but on land, on their nesting grounds, no single enemy has arisen to teach themsophistication. The tribal history ofthe Hawaiians bears out this obvious theory, for no record of these farther outlying islands antedates theirdiscovery byhistoric navigators. No other potential bird enemies exist on these islands, where sea birds have doubtless nested for thousands of generations. What more natural than that they should to-day greet an itinerant naturalist merely as a curious, overgrown peer?