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Meet Wisdom, the world’s oldest known banded bird in the wild. She is 64 years old. Wisdom is a Laysan albatross, a large seabird that ranges across the North Pacific and have unusually long lives, but not as long as Wisdom’s. Most Laysan albatrosses are typically dead by forty.

Wisdom was first banded in 1956 by noted author and now retired senior scientist at the United States Geological Survey, Chandler Robbins. Many birds lose their bands before they can be replaced. Wisdom’s bands, however, were continuously replaced and because of meticulous record keeping associated with bird banding, ornithologists can verify that she is at least 64 years old, but she could be older. Last month, she returned to Midway Atoll in north-west of Hawaii, after exactly one year, with her current partner Mr. Goo, with whom she has been going out since at least December 2012. The Midway Islands are home to 99.7% of the albatross population. Shortly after her arrival, Wisdom laid an egg.


On November 19, 2015 Wisdom Returned to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and was observed with her mate on November 21. Photo credit: Kiah Walker/USFWS

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