Wisdom, World’s Oldest Known Wild Bird, Spotted at the Age of 71

Female Laysan albatross named Wisdom, the world’s oldest known wild bird, is alive and well. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service department for Columbia Pacific Northwest announced on social media that Wisdom returned to its breeding site at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge earlier in December.

Wisdom was first identified and banded in 1956 after she laid an egg. The biologists believe she is at least 71 years old since seabirds usually don’t lay eggs until age five.

While Wisdom returned to Midway Atoll during Thanksgiving, her longtime mating partner Akeakamai was unfortunately nowhere to be found. Biologist estimate the couple was together for decades and would come each year to the same site in order to lay one egg. Their most recent successful hatch happened in February of 2021.

Albatross usually mate for life, but there are instances in which they are known to find another partner. The most common scenario is when they outlive their original mate.

“Wisdom has not been seen in the past week, and most mōlī have already laid their egg, but biologists will continue to monitor the area in case the world’s oldest known bird returns,” wrote USFWS Columbia Pacific Northwest in a social media post.