Landlocked birds

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FrenchymcB

Senior Member
French - France
Hi everyone,

I'm translating a documentary about eagles and I was wondering if native English speakers could help me understand one sentence.
Context : different eagle species in Russia migrate to the coast during winter. There are other birds as well on the ice floes where they end up, such as ravens.

Here is the video, I figured it might help you get a better idea of what's going on.
(video link pre-approved by JamesM)

21:38 : "Several hundred will spend the winter on the ice floes. At first there seems to be an awkward tolerance as the birds assemble. The reason they have picked this spot is that the chilly open waters around the ice floes are teeming with fish. (22:20) For landlocked birds like ravens, eagles unlock the desirable resource."

I read that "landlocked" could mean : "Having no direct access to the sea" (freedictionary) ; "living or located away from the ocean" (merriam-webster), so my original guess was that the narrator meant something along the lines of : "ravens aren't used to the sea and don't fish, therefore they take advantage of the fish caught by the eagles", but I have this terrible feeling I'm over-interpreting and I'm completely missing the point. I looked up ravens and they seem to live in lots of different habitats, including coastal regions, so I'm a bit confused. Does anyone understand what this sentence means ? :confused: Thank you!
 
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I share your puzzlement, Frenchy, since you say there are ravens on the ice floes. I think the writer was wrong in using "landlocked" to describe the ravens. Perhaps what was meant was that ravens don't snatch fish out of the water as eagles do, but they try to grab some of the fish caught by the eagles.

    That's just a guess; I know nothing about the hunting habits of ravens.
     

    Winstanley808

    Banned
    English - U.S.
    If you are trying to translate from English, the use of "landlocked" just seems to be a poor choice of words on the part of the script writer. Flightless birds living in the interior of a continent might be "landlocked," but it's silly to describe flying birds like ravens with that word. For translation purposes, you should probably substitute a phrase for "landlocked" and translate that. If there is a word in the target language that means what "landlocked" means in English, I would advise against using it.
    For ravens, unused to fishing, . . .
    For ravens, which cannot fish on their own . . .
    For ravens, which cannot fish themselves . . .
    I don't know anything about Russian eagles, but the American bald eagle has some adaptations specifically for fishing, including spines on its talons that help it grip a slippery fish and an oily coating on its outer feathers that repels water and enables it to plunge into a lake or the sea to grab a fish but not get waterlogged. Ravens are smart, but they haven't invented tridents or wet suits! Apparently (perhaps this is mentioned or shown later), they scavenge the eagles' leftovers.
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    -
    Swedish
    To me describing ravens as "landlocked" means that they are not adapted to catching fish like gulls, gannets, pelicans and other sea birds.
     

    FrenchymcB

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Thank you all for your replies!
    For translation purposes, you should probably substitute a phrase for "landlocked" and translate that.
    For ravens, unused to fishing, . . .
    For ravens, which cannot fish on their own . . .
    For ravens, which cannot fish themselves . . .
    That's actually the conclusion I came to as I was going to bed last night, so I'm glad to see you all agree! I think you are all right, this is more likely to be what they mean here, as opposed to ravens living in the interior of the continent (which isn't necessarily accurate).
    Apparently (perhaps this is mentioned or shown later), they scavenge the eagles' leftovers.
    Yes, ravens grab bits of the fish caught by the eagles. I understand it as : ravens cannot fish, so they wait for the eagles to make the desirable resource available to them.

    Thank you very much everyone :)
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I suggest that they are using "landlocked" as a contrast to "unlocking" the desirable resource. Ravens are locked to the land in that they can only feed on land. Whether or not they can fly over water is irrelevant. It is, of course and as Winstanley808 point out, an incorrect use of landlock, which means locked-in by land, not locked to land.
     
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