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An Albatross Photographs a Killer Whale


Well, not really. The camera was attached to the back of the albatross in a study of how the birds feed alongside marine mammals at sea. Four birds got the cameras, but this one managed to snap a shot as they hovered over a killer whale at South Georgia in the Southern Ocean:

"The amazing pictures reveal albatrosses foraging in groups while at sea collecting food for their chicks. It also provides the first observation of an albatross feeding with a killer whale – a strategy they may adopt for efficiency. The camera, developed by the National Institute for Polar Research in Tokyo, is removed when the albatross returns to its breeding ground after foraging trips. It is small (the size of a packet of polo mints*) and weighs 82g. Although the camera slightly changes the aerodynamic shape of the albatross, it didn't affect the breeding success of the study birds."

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  1. ANDY I love your animal stories -- your site is so well rounded. Thanks.

    BTW, it helps positive image for these beautiful creatures if you don't call them Killer Whales -- the politically correct term here in Canada is Orca. Then again, your country still says Eskimo...

    Posted by: Strepsi | Oct 7, 2009 9:51:26 AM

  2. beautiful picture! ---and Inuit is the correct term for Eskimo in case Strepsi left you wondering! ;)

    Posted by: Kevin | Oct 7, 2009 10:32:23 AM

  3. Um, Streps, they *are* killer whales... lest they've started a vegetarian movement over the past few years I didn't know about...

    I'm not sure I know anyone who's a) not in awe of them or b) actually scared of them. They're beautiful creatures, no matter what they're called. "Killer Whale" is in the American vernacular and has been so for a very long time -- the duration of which they've been amongst the most beloved of animal creatures in the US.

    Posted by: Ryan | Oct 7, 2009 12:25:54 PM

  4. Awesome picture- and "Killer Whale" is the common vernacular, but is wrong, since they're actually a type of Dolphin, and they don't just kill whales, but other sea mammals too. Orca is the scientifically preferred term...

    Posted by: wirrrn | Oct 8, 2009 2:38:11 AM

  5. For clarity, "Eskimo" isn't used country-wide here. I learned that "Inuit" was preferred when I was in third or fourth grade. In Texas.

    Posted by: rafi | Oct 8, 2009 12:13:11 PM

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