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Flight WaysLife and Loss at the Edge of Extinction$
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Thom van Dooren

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166188

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166188.001.0001

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Fledging Albatrosses

Fledging Albatrosses

Flight Ways and Wasted Generations

Chapter:
(p.21) One Fledging Albatrosses
Source:
Flight Ways
Author(s):

Thom van Dooren

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231166188.003.0001

This chapter emphasizes the “embodied temporality” of species by looking through the lives of albatrosses. Albatrosses are pelagic, nomadic birds that comfortably cross huge expanses of water each day. Despite their adaptation as “wanderers,” they remain utterly tied to the land, as they need to lay eggs and raise their young. Midway Atoll, located roughly halfway between the United States and Japan, is a breeding place for both Black-footed and Laysan albatrosses. In recent decades, one of the most visible anthropogenic effects on many small Pacific islands like Midway has been the presence of plastic items. As they head skyward and seaward in search of food for growing chicks, albatrosses invariably collect plastic items that they mistake for food. These plastic items cause malnourishment, dehydration, starvation, and other health problems when ingested by the young.

Keywords:   embodied temporality, albatrosses, nomadic birds, pelagic birds, Midway Atoll, United States, Japan, Black-footed albatrosses, Laysan albatrosses, plastic items

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