An Albatross is a good omen, so long as you don't shoot one with a crossbow, as one unfortunate mariner chose to do in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 1798 poem, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." In Coleridge's poem, the good omen becomes a curse, and the south wind leads the mariner's ship to the duldrums where for days and days the crew is stuck, "As idle as a painted ship/ Upon a painted ocean.”
Instead of succumbing to a shot from a crossbow, the albatross in the image above was killed by consuming plastic, which its body is unable to process. The bird was found on Midway Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, a critical habitat for seabirds.
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