The albatross is a large sea bird. The Great Albatross (genus Diomedes) has the largest wing span of any bird.

On land the albatross appears clumsy and comical, but in the air they soar gracefully over great distances.

An albatross in flight
An albatross in flight

Of the 21 species of albatross recognized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 19 are threatened with extinction.

Thanks to a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the albatross has taken on the figurative meaning of a burden that prevents a person from living life fully.

Albatross and Alcatraz Island
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

2 Responses

  1. @Michael,
    I could have said “owing to.”

    The expression “thanks to” may be defined as:

    thanks be given to, or are due to; hence, Owing to, as a result of, in consequence of.

  2. You say “Thanks… to Coleridge”.
    Why? Is the additional meaning welcomed?
    Or might you have said “Owing to… Coleridge”?

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