A non-breeding pair of black footed albatrosses dances an intricate courtship pas de deux on a sandy ridge at sunset. Black footed albatrosses perform such a lovely, intricate dance filled with languid wing extensions, standing on their tippy toed webbed feet, and calling or bill clacking with abandon. It is a performance that one never forgets, truly one of the most beautiful of all species of albatrosses’ courtship dances.

I created a short video of the black footed albatrosses dancing on this sunset ridge that can be viewed below. I find it mesmerizing to gaze on the silhouetted forms of this elegant pair as they perform their joyous courtship dance and hope you will, too.

While I would prefer to have included the birds’ calls, whistles, bill clacks and brays in the video, unfortunately a stiff wind kept booming in the camera microphone. However, the music suits this pair perfectly for surely “when they dance, angels will run and hide their wings.”

A non-breeding black footed albatross pair on Sand Island, Midway Atoll.

Here one can obtain a good look at why the black footed albatross attained its name. Those feet are jet black!

A busy black footed albatross parent regurgitates a nutritious, calorie-laden meal to its hungry chick.
The non-breeding albatross adults have no such responsibilities so are able to dance and court each other with abandon.

A non-breeding dancing black footed albatross duo is oblivious to all but each other.

The black footed albatross is listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List.

A video tribute to Midway Atoll and its wildlife by Gina Ruttle (Whalegeek)
Still photography by Gina and Mark Ruttle

Sand Island, Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Territory of the United States of America

Canon 7D, Canon 100-400mm lens, Manfrotto tripod, Wimberley II tripod head, shutter 1/4000, f/11.0, aperture priority, slight saturation of color plus darkening in iPhoto, exposure bias -0.33, focal length 340, ISO 400

May 9, 2010

Views: 450 (April 10, 2011)

Favorites: 28 (April 10, 2011)

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It is my sincere wish that visitors to my portfolio experience the beauty and wonder of nature. Moreover my hope is that my photographs will inspire viewers to be proactive toward the protection of wildlife and its habitat, those efforts ultimately making a far better world for all beings.

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  • eaglewatcher4
    eaglewatcher4about 4 years ago

    Outstanding shot!! Love the black and gold!

  • Thank you! Glad this appealed to you.

    – Gina Ruttle (Whalegeek)

  • Craig Hender
    Craig Henderabout 4 years ago

    Outstanding! Superb silhouette.

  • Craig, thank you VERY much!

    – Gina Ruttle (Whalegeek)

  • neilbrown
    neilbrownabout 4 years ago

    Stunningly beautiful.


  • Neil, thank you so much for your comment!

    – Gina Ruttle (Whalegeek)

  • Farras Abdelnour
    Farras Abdelnourabout 4 years ago

    beautifully elegant composition!

  • Farras, my favorite albatross fan, thank you very much!

    – Gina Ruttle (Whalegeek)

  • PhoenixArt
    PhoenixArtabout 4 years ago

    Brilliant sillhouette. Gorgeous colours, great composition and interest. Well done. :o)

  • Thank you for your delightful thoughtful words. I appreciate you taking the time to have a look as well as drop a line!

    – Gina Ruttle (Whalegeek)

  • Mark Robson
    Mark Robsonabout 4 years ago

    Superb and in time to the music :))

  • Mark, thank you so much! I just watched the dancing albatross video once again….brought a tear to my eyes. Nature instills awe in me.

    – Gina Ruttle (Whalegeek)

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotabout 4 years ago

    Gina, this is outstanding! To watch these birds dance in silhouette in your wonderful video brought tears to my eyes! Quite unbelievable. Sensational work! Thank you for this.

  • Aunt Dot, I have the same reaction to watching the black footed albatrosses dance; it brings tears to my eyes both for the memory of it plus the sheer beauty of the birds’ dance. Thank you for your moving words. Heartfelt appreciation!

    – Gina Ruttle (Whalegeek)

  • ginabgood1
    ginabgood1about 4 years ago

    Love it!

  • Gina, thank you very, very much! Hope you are doing well as we move into Fall. The leaves will be flying soon. Take care!

    – Gina Ruttle (Whalegeek)

  • Jay Stockhaus
    Jay Stockhausabout 4 years ago

    Fantastic capture! Love the colors.

  • Jay, thank you so very much! This is a favorite image of mine that brings many happy memories back to me.

    – Gina Ruttle (Whalegeek)

  • Ann  Van Breemen
    Ann Van Breemenabout 4 years ago

    Amazing stuff, G. I loved the photo from the first time I saw it and the video is wonderful. Filming against the sunset sky makes it so romantic. There are a couple of times in the video when the two birds put their beaks together and the shape of their heads and necks form a heart, which I thought was very appropriate. Keep ’em coming.:)

  • Ann, thank you so much! I’m delighted you noticed the heart-shaped pattern developed between the two courting birds. It’s a punctuation mark on the entire beautiful dance. All the best to you!

    – Gina Ruttle (Whalegeek)

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