Each year, albatrosses embark on fantastically long flights across the sea. Wisdom has flown "literally millions of miles over the Pacific Ocean in her lifetime," according to Midway refuge scientists. And at 63, she's thought to be the world's oldest wild bird. (The oldest bird in captivity, a cockatoo named Cookie, is about 80; the oldest animal, a tortoise named Jonathan, is a salty 182.) U.S. Geological Survey biologist Chandler Robbins placed a small circlet around Wisdom's leg in 1956, as part of an effort to keep Laysan albatrosses from crashing into Navy airplanes.
Wisdom - who was banded around 5 years old - has been returning to Midway Atoll each year around November since then. She's a well-practiced mom, having raised roughly three dozen chicks.
Wisdom lays an egg in November 2013. (Pete Leary/USFWS)