May I introduce you to Wisdom? In mid-March 2011 news reports spread across the globe that a Laysan albatross called Wisdom had returned to Midway Atoll to raise a chick.
(I INVITE YOU TO HAVE A LOOK AT WISDOM’S VIDEO BELOW.)
What makes Wisdom so special? This wise old bird is at least 60 years old and most likely in the middle of her sixth decade of life. The oldest documented banded bird in North America, Wisdom was first banded with a red band #Z333 on Midway Atoll in 1956 when she was estimated to be at least 5 years old. In spite of her advanced age, Wisdom appears as fresh and youthful as the young sub-adult albatrosses I encountered.
Think of the millions of miles this bird has covered during her life, of what she has witnessed since she hatched and fledged from Midway Atoll so long ago and of all the many albatross chicks she has raised. What a story Wisdom can tell!
Days after Wisdom made international news a massive earthquake rocked Japan. The destructive tsunami generated by the earthquake pounded Midway Atoll c. 11:30 pm on March 10, 2011, delivering a destructive death-dealing blow to nesting seabirds at Midway Atoll as well as throughout the other low lying Northwest Hawaiian Islands. Fortunately for Wisdom, her mate and their little chick, the trio’s nest is located away from the shore on higher ground. Their tiny chick was spared from the devastating wall of water.
During my visit to Midway in March 2011both Wisdom and her mate were spending much time at sea foraging for food for their ravenous, rapidly growing little chick so despite high hopes I thought it unlikely I would see Wisdom tending to her chick. It was with great pleasure that I was able to view Wisdom when she made a brief return to land in order to feed her waiting chick a nutritious meal.
I created a short film that contains both still images and video I captured of Wisdom in the very low light of late afternoon near her nest by Bravo Barracks on Sand Island, Midway Atoll. I hope you enjoy watching the film.
Wisdom Feeding Her Chick
(Note: the whistles, bill clacks and assorted bird calls heard in the background of the video all were made by Laysan albatross adults and chicks.)
March 20, 2011
Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Territory of the United States of America
Canon 70D, Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L lens, shutter 1/80, f/9.0, focal length 365mm, aperture priority, ISO 400
Hawai’i (April, 2011)
Tell Your Photo Story (May, 2011)
The Birds (May, 2011)