At 70, Oldest-Known Wild Bird is Still Hatching New Chicks
Wisdom, a Laysan albatross, has had around 35 chicks during her life. She just hatched another one at 70 years old.
At more than 70-years young, Wisdom, the world’s oldest-known banded wild bird, has hatched yet another chick at Midway Atoll in the Hawaiian archipelago, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced.
Biologists first identified and banded Wisdom, a Laysan albatross, on Midway Atoll in 1956 when she was already a few years old.
"Each year that Wisdom returns to Midway Atoll, we learn more about how long seabirds can live and raise chicks," said Beth Flint, the supervisory wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Pacific Remote Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Wisdom laid the egg late last year, and it hatched at the beginning of February.
Wisdom and her current mate, Akeakamai, have been meeting on Midway Atoll to hatch and raise chicks together since at least 2006, the Fish and Wildlife Service reported.
Once an egg is laid, the mates take turns incubating the egg and then caring for their newborn once the egg hatches. The pairs remain on Midway Atoll for seven months to tend to their chicks before going out to sea and returning once again.
"We believe Wisdom has had other mates," Flint said. "Though albatross mate for life, they may find new partners if necessary — for example, if they outlive their first mate."
The USFWS also said that albatrosses begin finding mates around the age of five, "through practicing elaborate courtship dances containing dozens of ritualized movements."
Biologists believe that Wisdom has hatched between 30 and 36 chicks, possibly more.
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