Lasting Wisdom

Posted April 3rd, 2011 by kcorliss. Comments (2).


In an earlier post, I mentioned a certain Laysan Albatross (dubbed “Wisdom”) on Wake atoll which had attained a milestone by becoming the oldest known wild bird banded by North American bird banders.

Enter March 11, and the horrific earthquake which struck Japan and the ensuing tsunami which swept across low-lying areas with devastating force. Four hours later the tsunami reached Wake at the height of breeding season. In all “at least 2,000 adult albatross and 110,000 chicks,” were killed by the enormous surge (according to NZHerald). Wisdom, however, survived.

I’m not sure if this occured early enough in the breeding cycle for these birds to renest. Since the birds only lay one egg a year and are not known for prolific propagation, my hunch is this year is a bust. At least she’s got a chance to make a go of it again next year.

2 Responses to “Lasting Wisdom”

  1. Andrea

    Tragic – although I irrationally find myself more relieved at the survival of one bird than I do saddened at the death of 100,000 others.

    I did a little research online, and found that if an egg breaks during incubation or is infertile, re-laying will not occur. Incubation is 65 days for this species, hatching happens from mid-January through mid-February, and fledging takes 5-6 months. Since this accounts for about 65% of the year, I suspect this year is a washout for these birds.

  2. kcorliss

    Thanks for checking Andrea. I suspected as much.