#1000Speak: Compassion in Laysan Albatross.

We’ve had unusual winds blowing around Kauai the past couple weeks. First, they blew from various points out of the west, swinging around from the northwest and north-northwest to the southwest and south-southwest. It were as if a kid had grabbed the garden hose of wind and was swinging it over her head in great loops. Now, that kid has grabbed the hose again—and cranked up the spigot—and the winds are blowing out of the south—due south, southeast, and south-southeast.

When Laysan albatross chicks first hatch, they are balls of fluff little bigger than an avocado. A strong gust of wind could send them rolling down a hillside. At this age, chicks are too young to thermoregulate on their own. So, parents sit on them. This keeps them out of the wind and also keeps them warm. But sometimes life in the tropics for an albatross chick can get too warm. So, parents stand, allowing some air flow, and turn their backs to the sun, creating a nice shady spot from which its offspring gets its first glimpses of the world. But when the sun is directly overhead, Laysan albatross parents resort to other creative means to protect their growing young.

laysan albatross, chick, wing
A Growing Laysan Albatross Chick.

Here we have the first chick to hatch in the colony that I monitor on the North Shore of Kauai, which I first wrote about in late January. I shared this photo with my friend Diane, and she said it appeared to her that the chick had moved from the basement to the covered lanai.

Today, writers across the Internet are writing about compassion in a movement known as #1000Speak.

I like many of the synonyms of compassion: sympathy, empathy, fellow feeling, care, concern, solicitude, sensitivity, warmth, love, tenderness, mercy, tolerance, kindness, humanity, charity.

There was an early scientific movement that professed animals did not have feelings. That they do not feel love or pain. They do not grieve. They do not jump with joy.

In the last few years, I’ve notice a shift, though, in the scientific community, an acceptance that animals do have feelings. They may not feel at the same level as humans, but feel? Yes. (To read more on that topic, I’ve pre-ordered the forthcoming book by Carl Safina titled, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel.)

I’ve written before about what Laysan albatross can teach us about love. In thinking about compassion, I also think they can also teach us about that, too.

What about you? Have you witnessed an animal express compassion–to its own young or, perhaps, to another species? If so, please share that experience with me in the comments section below.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. henriettamross14 says:

    I find it quite bizarre how humans like to think compassion or feelings per se are exclusive to them. It’s quite obvious when one spends time with animals that they do feel.


    1. Kim says:

      Agreed. Thank you for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely! I doubt there’s any caring person who would deny that their dog, horse, cat or bird has feelings and a unique personality. (Great photo too.)


    1. Kim says:

      Yes, personalities, absolutely! Mahalo.


  3. Thanks for sharing your post!
    I have a cat (or he has me) and although he is not normally snuggly, he seems to know when I am upset or sick. Then he will come and lie next to me for hours or days until I am feeling better.


    1. Kim says:

      Yep. I’d call that compassion!


  4. sherilynlee says:

    It was a privilege to witness these beautiful birds in-person. Not only are they kind to one another, they inspire me to be kind to others.


    1. Kim says:

      I so agree, Sherilyn. Animals can teach us to be better people.


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