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Wisdom, the Midway Albatross | Starred PW

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The Oldest Bird in the World

BEST ANIMAL STORY FOR KIDS

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 1956 - How Old is Wisdom?

On December 10, 1956, 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. They assumed she was five years old at the time of banding, because to breed and lay eggs, Laysan albatrosses must be at least five years old. That makes her at least 70 years old! Wow!

Animal Books for Kids Series

Bird. Mammal. Spider. Amphibian. Reptile.

This series includes the story of the oldest bird in the world, a spider in space, an orphaned puma cub, a bullfrog with a world-record leap, and the poignant story of saving a species from extinction.

The series is much more than just an introduction to the animal kingdom. It chronicles the story of how humans interact with animals in various ways: how we enjoy, challenge, admire, endanger, and save them. It's a fabulous series for kids to learn about the amazing complexity of animals. Science worksheets and lesson plans are available below.

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