Day #256 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…The oldest tagged bird in the world…Wisdom returns to Midway Island…

    See the source imageWisdom was 69 years old in this photo and had yet another chick. She is so beautiful. Not our photo.

“Today’s photos are from March 16, 2015, while living in Kauai, Hawaii for four months, reveling in the nesting Laysan Albatross, their chicks, and the many nests in the neighborhood that we visited almost daily. For that post, please click here.

When this photo popped up on my Facebook feed last night, my heart skipped a beat with enthusiasm to find that Wisdom, the oldest tagged bird in the world and history, has returned to Midway Atoll in Pacific Islands. Here’s what the “Pacific Islands, US Fish, and Wildlife Service wrote:

“She’s back! Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and the world’s oldest known, banded bird in the wild, has returned to her home at Midway Atoll. More than that, she and her partner are taking turns incubating an egg!
The beaks of the Albatross are used for preening and for signs of greeting. Or, they may be used in aggression if an intruder threatens them or the nest.
Wisdom and her mate return to the SAME nest site each year – a behavior called “nest site fidelity.” When chicks grow up and are ready to find a mate themselves – they often return to the site where they were raised. How amazing to think that Wisdom is surrounded by generations of her family at Midway Atoll! At least 69 years young, we estimate she has laid between 30-36 eggs in her lifetime.
Over three million seabirds, including approximately 70% of the world’s mōlī, rely on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
This mom or dad was clacking at the chick hidden beneath the greenery. It was pretty funny. If only we knew that they were telling the chick

Learn more about Wisdom, her newest egg, and Midway Atoll:

Credit: Jon Brack/Friends of Midway Atoll NWR.”

Also from Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

“Wisdom sits on her nest, November 2020. Credit: Jon Brack/Friends of Midway Atoll NWR
Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and the world’s oldest known, banded wild bird, has returned to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial. At least 69 years old, she is the first observation of Wisdom at her nest, on November 29. Biologists have confirmed that she has laid an egg. Wisdom and her mate are taking turns incubating the egg.
“Showing off again?” the albatross of the left asks.
Culturally, albatross species are kinolau (body form) of the Hawaiian deity Lono. Each year, millions of albatrosses return to Midway Atoll in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to nest and raise their young. The birds’ return to land for mating coincides with the beginning of the makahiki season, occurring between October and November, and an essential aspect of some practitioners’ ceremonies and practices during that time.
Wisdom and her mate, Akeakami, like most pairs of albatrosses, return nearly every year to the same nest site. This behavior is known as “nest site fidelity,” and it makes places with large colonies of nesting birds, like Midway Atoll, critically important for the future survival of seabirds like Wisdom.”
This pair has thoroughly enjoyed time together, often engaging in their usual mating rituals. It’s amazing the lifetime mating pair find each other at the same location year after year.

This story caused me to swoon with delight. Having spent four months on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, with over a dozen such nests in a neighborhood near our holiday home, where many of our new friends lived, we visited almost every day during the nesting, chick hatching, and growing period.

Without a doubt, this was a highlight of those four months, including the blissful times we spent socializing with the many wonderful friends we made. Among those friends was another dear Louise, from the UK, but lives in Kauai most of the time.
This is a chick, shortly after hatching, which we’d taken a few months earlier. They were hatched during the first week in February.
Knowing how much we love and appreciate albatross, Louis wrote to me that she was headed to Midway Atoll as part of a regular annual group who embark on a journey to the relatively unpopulated Midway Atoll described as shown:
“The atoll, which has a small population (approximately 60 in 2014, but no indigenous inhabitants), is designated an insular area under the authority of the United States Department of the Interior.”  For more on the atoll, please click here.
Louise will be participating in this process well into January but won’t have access to WiFi. Surely, she’ll share photos when she returns. We’re looking forward to hearing from her when she returns.
A fluffy chick tucked away for a nap. 
Ironically, shortly after I saw the story about Wisdom on Facebook, one of my YouTube subscribers commented on our video here. Please click the link below to see a chick swallowing a meal from mom or dad, who’d been out to sea for days, fishing, and storing the food in her/his gullet to share with the chick up their return. Amazing!
To have had the outstanding opportunity to watch the life cycle in Kauai in 2015 and then, witnessing hundreds of thousands of nesting albatross in Steeple Jason Island, Antarctica, we feel a close affinity with these remarkable birds. Please click here for that post and note our photo below:
It was stunning to see all of these albatrosses atop their nesting pods in Antarctica in 2018.

 We still pinch ourselves in awe over the outstanding experiences we’ve had in the wild, which, if all goes well, we’ll begin repeating in another 40 days (actually 41 days until we arrive in Marloth Park due to two days of travel time.).

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, December 4, 2019:

Three years ago today, in 2017, in Pisco, Peru, we spotted these children playing at the beach with views of colorful fishing vessels. For more from the year-ago post, please click here.

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