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Friday, February 5, 2016

Wisdom - The 65 year old Wonder on Midway Atoll

Wisdom feeds her chick in March of 2011 © W.Sentman
Wisdom the albatross is 15 years my senior. And we have been friends since at least 2002. That is the year I moved off of Midway Atoll after having lived there for four years. Right before I left Midway I had the opportunity to meet Chandler Robbins, and watch him at 84 y/o, down on all fours banding adult Laysan Albatross solo. I was impressed at his technique and his determination to make sure that any albatross walking around with an older band was rebanded. It was during Chan's visit in 2002 that he re-encountered a female Laysan Albatross that he had banded 46 years earlier as a 40 y/o man in 1956. That bird would later be named Wisdom and I would find myself following her over the next 14 years as she gained more and more notoriety around the globe as the oldest known seabird.

Today Wisdom is at least 65 years old (she was banded as an unknown age adult). She is currently with her mate on Sand Island, at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge incubating an egg! Yes that is correct Wisdom is still producing chicks at 65 years old.

If all goes well Wisdom and her mate's egg should be hatching as I post this. Stay tune for updates from the USFWS that should be announcing when the chick does hatch. Also, there is a contest to name Wisdom's mate with the winning name to be made public soon. Watch @Hawaiireef on Twitter.

You can also help Wisdom and her many progeny by adopting an Albatross chick from Midway Atoll through the Oceanic Society. Funds from your adoption go to support seabird habitat conservation on Midway, and marine plastic pollution awareness. This program is conducted in partnership with the Friends of Midway Atoll and the Kure Atoll Conservancy. In addition to Wisdom and her family, over 70% of the world's Laysan Albatross population call Midway home. There are few better ways to support the conservation of albatross than by making that the world's largest albatross colony has the proper habitat available on their breeding sites.

Outplanting native bunch grass at Midway 2015