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  • Roberta Winchester

Wisdom is Back!

It is always nice to report a good story about birds since the news about bird decline is often so alarming.

Wisdom is a Laysan albatross and she is perhaps one of the oldest living banded birds. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) first tagged Wisdom at Midway Atoll in the Pacific in the 1950s. The person who attached Wisdom's first tag was Chandler Robbins, a senior scientist at the USGS. Robbins was an ornithologist who died in 2017. Her tag bears the number Z333. Experts estimate that she was hatched at least as early as 1951, if not earlier. That would make her at least 72 years old .

Wisdom has been a subject of study by scientists and bird enthusiasts due to her impressive longevity and reproductive success. It is estimated that she has laid 50-60 eggs over her lifetime, and at least 30 of her chicks have fledged.

Laysan albatrosses return to the tiny island of Midway each year in October to lay their eggs. They can be a challenge to study because they spend 90% of their time in the air, so it is with great excitement each year when Wisdom returns.

Wisdom was observed back at the island in this past December 2023. For a very long time, her mate (they mate for life) was Akeakami, but he has not been seen for several years now and it is assumed that he has not survived.

Wisdom has not yet found a new mate, but she has been observed flirting. Here is a photo of Wisdom and her chick from a prior year.

May Wisdom continue to thrive and outlive us all!



The Fat Finch’s Bird Brain Blog + Newsletter

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