Animals as Teachers: Albatross

Today is Endangered Species Day and I agreed with Spirit to start on a journey listening in to each of these endangered species and bringing the wisdom onto a global platform.

I laid upon Grandmother Earth for guidance on this journey.  Being held by the earth, I looked up the list of Endangered Species in Washington State.  The  Short-tailed Albatross was first on the list.

I lay back to listen to the wisdom of the albatross and fell into a deep journey of flying with powerful wings outstretched and riding and flowing with the air currents.  As well as being at one with the waters as I transitioned from flying to floating.  Both the air and the sea felt buoyant and effortless.   An inner compass and knowingness guided my course – this map was interconnected with earth, air, water, sky and understanding of the weather patterns and currents of air and ocean.   Albatross loudly proclaimed “I am the teacher of trust and listening to one’s internal guidance and deep river of knowing – the intuition.  Navigating the unknown can be effortless and buoyant by staying connected and listening to your internal wisdom. Learn to  flow with the ups and downs of life by staying loyal to yourself.”

There is the spiritual message from the Short-Tailed Albatross.  Now to find out if and where these birds live in Washington state.  According to the site E-bird Northwest*: 

On 15 August 2015, a live hatch-year juvenile Short-tailed Albatross was found about one mile north of Tatoosh Island, Washington, and sent to a wildlife rehabilitation center. Unfortunately, despite best efforts, the young one did not survive. Interestingly, because the bird was banded as a hatchling on 2 March 2015, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) was able to learn that it came from one of the colonies in the western Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Japan and Taiwan.”  

Curiosity pushed me further how many were there once of these magnificent birds and how many are there now?.  According to BirdWeb:

“At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Short-tailed Albatross was fairly common throughout the north Pacific. Remains found in excavations of Native American dwelling sites corroborate reports by early naturalists that this species was more common near shores than were other albatrosses. Their historic population is estimated at over a million birds. On their nesting islands, they were aggressively hunted for food, oil, eggs, feathers, and feet, and in one 17-year period, over 5 million were killed. By 1933, when all forms of Short-tailed Albatross hunting were banned, and the bans were finally enforced, the population was only 3-50 birds. They were considered extinct in the 1940s. In the 1950s, a few young pairs that had been at sea for a several years returned to Torishima Island and began to breed there. Since then, numbers have gradually increased, but a bird that is so late to breed and lays only one egg per year is slow to rebound. Currently there are an estimated 1200 birds worldwide, with 600 of breeding age. The largest colony is on Toroshima Island, an active volcano that could easily wipe out the population once again. There are no breeding populations in the United States, but several individuals have been seen regularly during the breeding season on Midway Atoll in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The small population size and limited breeding distribution have left the Short-tailed Albatross genetically vulnerable. It is listed as endangered by the United States Department of Fish and Wildlife, and is a candidate for listing by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.”  

Albatross Behavior: Short-tailed Albatrosses engage in elaborate courtship dances and tend to maintain long-term pair bonds. They are graceful in flight but clumsy on land. It is believed they can sleep while in flight, gliding on air currents and staying aloft without flapping for hours or even days at a time.  

While in New Zealand I witnessed an Albatross landing at a nesting site.  When this massive bird came in for a landing he proceeded to do two somersaults before stopping sideways on a bush.  He awkwardly picked himself up, shook off and belabored walked over to his mate.  To see them on land I did not witness the grace and beauty of them in the air – gliding on currents.  I realized there are areas in my life where I am not so agile and graceful as in others – just like this albatross.  

I got one message from the Albatross but  I was curious about the other teachings and meanings of Albatross As A Totem that were out there.  I often look up the totem meanings of animals I encounter because I know that Spirit has sent them to me as a messenger and if I  can’t discern the message or if I feel what I heard from the animal did not resonate with me, I turn to the internet and more often than not a message appears that completely resonates with me.

According to the psychic website Aunty Flo, the Albatross as a totem teaches us:

The Albatross totem tells us to believe in freedom. It allows us to think wise and search for solutions beyond the horizon. The message is to break ourselves from the shackles of self-developed constraints and limitations. The Albatross totem energy is exactly opposite to conservatism and the philosophies that bounds freedom of speech, freedom of belief and the freedom of adopting a particular culture.

What a beautiful teaching from a bird that is endangered.  All this information both spiritual and physical data has given me and I hope you an understanding of this amazing bird.  And I long to see this birds return to their population numbers in the millions.  On this Endangered Species day, I commit to weekly connecting with an endanger species and bring awareness to their wisdom, teachings, and plight.  In this great web of life, we are all connected.  Aho!

I invite you to read and explore further about the albatross.

Below are links to the articles I referenced:

http://birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/short-tailed_albatross

http://ebird.org/content/nw/news/pelagic-birds-wa-and-or-pacific-coast-short-tailed-albatross/

http://www.auntyflo.com/magic/albatross