Sixty-something Wisdom the Laysan Albatross returns to Midway for yet another breeding season

Wisdom, the World’s oldest-known Laysan Albatross Phoebastria immutabilis, now considered to be at least 64 years old and first banded as an adult in 1956, was sighted preening her mate (band number G000) on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge on 22 November.  Her colour band Red Z333 was viewed by Deputy Refuge Manager Bret Wolfe - who used a telephoto lens at a distance to avoid overly disturbing the pair.  Wisdom's mate had been waiting close to the pair's former nest site since 19 November.  It is typical for male Laysan Albatrosses to arrive first at the nest site.  By the 23rd Wisdom had left for sea (click here).

Wisdom on the left preens her mate, photograph by Bret Wolfe/USFWS

“The breeding [Laysan] albatrosses, both male and female, typically return to sea shortly after mating.  After about 5-10 days, the female will return and lay a single egg in a bowl-like nest made from sand and grass.  The males will return shortly thereafter, though some may remain to guard the nest site while the female is away.  Although it's not set in stone that they will successfully breed and raise a chick in any given year, this pair has successfully bred in each of the last seven years.”

To read more ACAP news items about the exploits of Wisdom, and of the children’s book, mascot, poem, Facebook page and artwork she has inspired click here.

Laysan Albatrosses have already started laying on the main Hawaiian Islands, with the first eggs spotted on the 21st.

Meanwhile on Midway’s Eastern Island the male Short-tailed Albatross P. albatrus arrived at the end of October and is waiting for its partner.  The pair has bred successfuly three times in the last four years (click here).

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 29 November 2014

The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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