Saturday, June 28, 2014

Philopatric

The difference between a boy Bobwhite and a girl Bobwhite is in the appearance of the head. Boys have more black and white on their head than do girls.  As far as I know, Bobwhites are not known for their longevity, and yet I have read that a Bobwhite has been known to live for six years.  Often these claims of lifespan are made about birds that are pretty much lost to their wilderness and have persuaded a member of my own species to look out for them, with things like ground feeders and chasing away Cats and being raised for the hunters to shot. But when it comes to Albatross, there's no doubt in my mind that so long as they have food left to them by fishermen, they do indeed live a long life. It can take many species of Albatross up to ten years to reach breeding age, and after that they can have easily forty and probably fifty years left to them.

Albatross are philopatric, which means they will return year after year to their natal breeding ground, the place they were born. When an Albatross first decides to return to his or her natal breeding ground, he or she might have been wandering the oceans for years. And though they have, deep inside them, an ability to communicate with each other, those first meetings require speech and dance during which an Albatross learns the meanings of Albatross communication, their language.  Through the course of maturing an Albatross will dance and sing to many another Albatross, so that he or she might gain better and better understanding of what it is that other Albatross might be referring to, or what others might call 'syntax.'  And when these understandings become increasingly unique between a boy and girl Albatross a bond is born that will last the remainder of an Albatross lifetime. Bobwhite's can lay up to twenty five eggs a year. The Wandering Albatross lays one egg every two years.

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