Ocean Wanderer

“I now belong to a higher cult of mortals for I have seen the albatross”

Robert Cushman Murphy, October 1912

With a wingspan extending 3.5meters, the Wandering albatross is the bird with the greatest wingspan of any other.

These birds can live for over 60 years and mate for life, but not before a protracted and fascinating courtship ritual known as “gaming” that takes place.

Gaming involves young males perching themselves atop what they consider prime real estate on several sub Antarctic islands. They wait for a lady of the wings to fly over, and then their performance begins.

With huge wings and head arching skywards, they call and gesticulate to attract her attention. If interested she wheels around and comes in to land closer to the hopeful suitor.

Upon her closer approach, with much calling and showmanship on the male’s part, the potential couple engage in bill clacking. This is a series of audible rapid lateral bill slaps repeated several times over. After this, a unified chorus of raucous song ensues as if symbolizing an exchange of rings.

If successful, this couple will then form a lifelong bond that will test the relationship to the limit.

Feeding forays last sometimes a week at a time, taking the respective partner to locations often more than 5,000km away from the nesting site and into dangerous waters filled with longlines that have killed so many of their kind.

Whilst watching a courtship dance is incredible, watching a mature pair of birds that have been loyal partners for decades greet each other after reuniting at the nest after many days absence, is to witness something truly moving.

For anyone who may think that birds do not have emotions, that they may not experience happiness, and that they do not revel in their own kind’s company, is surely someone that has never sat alongside the nest of an albatross.


Available Sizes

Classic: 118 cm x 80 cm (46.5″ x 31.4″)
Large: 146 cm x 99 cm (57.5 ” x 39.5″)
Exhibition: 173 cm x 117 cm (68″ x 46″)

Available Editions
Exhibition: 12
Large: 12
Classic: 12