Wisdom, the Midway Albatross

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WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS: Surviving the Japanese Tsunami and Other Dangers for Over 60 Years

by Darcy Pattison, illustrated by Kitty Harvill

Wisdom, the Midway Albatross—the oldest bird in the world—hatched a new chick in 2011, and two months later, the Japanese tsunami struck. Surviving manmade and natural disasters for over 60 years, Wisdom has braved living wild, plastic pollution, longline fishing, lead poisoning, and the Japanese earthquake.

In this “Biography in Text and Art,” Harvill takes original photos as references to create accurate wildlife illustrations. These aren’t generic birds, but one particular individual in detail. Pattison’s careful research, vetted by scientists in the field, brings to life this this true story of an infant cub that must face a complicated world alone—and find a way to survive.

Banded Since 1951

On December 10, 1951, ornithologist Chandler Robbins banded 25 birds on Midway Island. One of those was Wisdom. She's been caught and given new bands seven times. There are older birds in captivity; there are probably older birds that didn't get banded. But Wisdom is the oldest known, wild bird in the world.


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