Posted: December 15, 2021

Wisdom is back!
World’s oldest known wild bird turns 70 and returns to Midway Atoll

Wisdom laying on her typical nesting spot.
A few days after her return to MIdway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in late November 2021, Wisdom was found calmly laying on her typical nesting spot showing off her tag. Image: Dragana Connaughton/Schoolyard Films

Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and the oldest known banded wild bird, has returned to her winter home at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial.

Each year, millions of albatrosses return to Midway Atoll in the Monument to nest and raise their young. Culturally, albatross species are kinolau (body form) of the Hawaiian deity Lono. The birds’ return to land for mating coincides with the beginning of the makahiki season.

Wisdom is Midway Atoll’s oldest known current resident. Biologists first identified and banded Wisdom in 1956 after she had laid an egg, perhaps her first egg. Female Laysan albatrosses aren’t known to breed before age 5, indicating that Wisdom would have hatched as late as 1951, which would make her at least 70 years old at this point of her life-journey. December 10, 2021 marked the 65th Anniversary of her discovery when she was first banded.

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More information on Wisdom.