Here's an unusual story that I picked up via Bogbumper.
Last Friday an albatross was found exhausted on a beach in Somerset (UK). After giving the bird a quick health check, the staff of the local wildlife rescue centre decided that it would be best to release it back into the wild as soon as possible. It was last seen gliding effortlessly over the Bristol Channel.
This story reminded me that Albert the lovesick black-browed albatross has spent the past 40 years cruising the gannet colonies of Scotland, fruitlessly searching for a mate. Ornithologists believe that, having been blown into the North Atlantic by a storm, he has been unable to navigate his way back into the southern hemisphere.
Last year I went to a fascinating talk on bird migration by Graham Appleton of the BTO, which touched briefly on the issue of how navigation skills evolve. The case of lovesick Albert demonstrates that individuals who can't navigate are rapidly removed from the gene pool. I wonder whether the Somerset albatross will suffer a similar fate... perhaps he/she will end up keeping Albert company in his old age!