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We Are All the Albatross: Face-Plant Video Goes Viral

Crash landing by bird in New Zealand is pretty relatable
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2021 11:44 AM CST

(Newser) – We've all experienced that feeling of a grand entrance ruined, our plans to glide gracefully into a crowded room marred by a trip over a shoelace or bump into a fellow partygoer. Now an albatross in New Zealand knows exactly how we feel. CNN reports on a viral video making the rounds that shows the oceanic bird gracefully swooping in Saturday to land at Taiaroa Head on the nation's South Island—but the picturesque scene quickly dissolves as the creature does a rather embarrassing face-plant instead, an albatross chick stoically observing. The Guardian describes the landing, recorded by the New Zealand Department of Conservation and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, as an "ignoble" one, replete with "undignified scrambling."

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"When the large webbed appendages hit the ground, the bird tumbles forward, face first, and flips on to its back," the outlet notes in its play-by-play. "It flails around as its legs pedal furiously in the air before righting itself, staring for a moment into the distance and then shuffling out of frame." Hoani Langsbury, the manager at a local nature preserve, says juvenile albatrosses are known for such mangled landings, but that 11- or 12-year-old adults such as this one "would have had plenty of time to learn to land properly." Langsbury adds that the botched landing was likely caused by a sudden shift in the wind, and that the adult bird, unlike younger albatrosses looking to impress, likely wasn't fazed by the descent debacle. (Read more albatross stories.)

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