Wisdom, The Midway Albatross: Surviving the Japanese Tsunami and other Disasters for over 60 Years by Darcy Pattinson and Kitty Harvill (art). Published 2012. As reviewed and pictured: softcover, 32 pages.
It's rather uncommon for an individual wild bird to be so well known that it becomes a media sensation, but that is what happened (again) earlier this month when a very special Laysan Albatross known as Wisdom successfully hatched an egg this breeding season. Why is she so famous? Wisdom was first banded as an adult bird back in 1956 -- making her at least 62 years old in 2013. She is the oldest known living wild bird.
Wisdom has survived all of the threats facing a wild bird in the world today, and then some. She has flown at least 2 million miles during her lifetime. She has probably laid over 35 eggs, raising many chicks to fledge. For the last six years (and likely much longer), she has nested on Midway Atoll. She and her precious chick survived the destructive earthquake-triggered tsunami of 2011.
This remarkable bird is the subject of a wonderful illustrated children's book, Wisdom, the Midway Albatross. The book, subtitled Surviving the Japanese Tsunami and other Disasters for over 60 Years, tells Wisdom's story and spells out many of the man-made and natural threats that she has faced and overcome. Wisdom's remarkable story is accompanied by beautiful watercolor illustrations.
The theme of the book is survival, with threats ranging from plastic pollution in the ocean and scary stormy weather explained in simple but scientifically accurate language appropriate for young children. The environmental message is especially very clear without being too overbearing. The conclusion to each interlude is always the same - the positive message that Wisdom has survived.
I think this is a great picture book with a positive message to share with children. I give Wisdom 5 Goldfinches out of 5.
Disclosure: This is my own original, honest review of Wisdom, a copy of which was provided to me free of charge by the publisher.
The descriptive texts and rang maps for the birds are presented opposite the color plates, which is always handy. The most important identification clues are printed in bold text. Notes...
A Rant of Ravens by Christine Goff. First published 2000. As reviewed and pictured: softcover, 207 pages. The last time I tried reading a birder-themed mystery novel, I was sorely disappointed. With that in mind, I honestly didn't expect too much out of Christine Goff's A Rant of...
The species accounts are fairly straightforward, with an overview page for each family of raptor (Accipiter, Buteo, Falcon, etc) and then several pages devoted to each species.