Wisdom, The Oldest Wild Bird, Hatches Chick At The Age Of 70

Wisdom, The Oldest Wild Bird, Hatches Chick At The Age Of 70

Wisdom is a Laysan Albatross and the oldest wild bird who hatches a chick at the age of 70. It may sound strange and unbelievable, but Wisdom was first banded by scientists on a remote North Pacific atoll in 1956. The world’s oldest wild bird, Wisdom, became a mother once again in February, when her egg hatched on the Midway Atoll in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean.

In 1956, bird researchers attached a red identifying ankle band to Wisdom to recognize her easily. Wisdom is around 70 years old now, and surprisingly, she has lived longer than the researcher who first banded her, as per the reports of Nina Wu, Honolulu Star-Advertiser. 

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Around 20 years ago, scientists thought that the maximum age of the Laysan Albatross was around 40 years and expected to not find Wisdom. But Chandler Robbins, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist, who first banded her, recaptured Wisdom in 2002. He wanted to replace the tattered ankle band. Wisdom was 51 at that time, and instantly considered the oldest wild bird ever recorded. 

Wisdom, The Oldest Wild Bird, Hatches Chick At The Age Of 70

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Now more than 20 years have passed since then, and Wisdom may be even older than 70. She was conservatively estimated to be 5 years old when scientists recorded her first time. Fortunately, her age has not stopped her from laying eggs in eight out of the last 11 years, as per the reports of National Geographic. 

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Wisdom, the septuagenarian (someone in their 70s) Laysan Albatross, has been raising her chicks with her mate Akeakamai since 2010, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Most often, Laysan Albatross choose a mate for their entire life, but Wisdom has had to find several new mates after she outlived her former mates. 

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Wisdom, The Oldest Wild Bird, Hatches Chick At The Age Of 70

Beth Flint, a biologist with the Marine National Monuments of the Pacific, told Hawaii News that they are not known the number of chicks Wisdom had raised but certainly at least 35, based on her recent year’s performance. Beth Flint was very excited when Wisdom and Akeakamai arrived at their nest site on Midway Atoll last year. Flint also stated that each year when return, they learn more about how long seabirds can live and raise chicks. 

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Wisdom, The Oldest Wild Bird, Hatches Chick At The Age Of 70

Wisdom and Akeakamai often take turns at the nest, to get their new chick strong and healthy enough to head out the sea during the summer, while other seabirds use their wingspan to travel across the ocean in search of food.

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According to National Geographic, indigenous Hawaiian culture associated the Laysan Albatross with the god of rain and agriculture, Lono. Therefore, Wisdom’s significance is more than her advanced age. 

Midway includes two tiny islands that were once used for World War II military bases and are now one of the busiest nesting sites for nearly three-quarters of the world’s Laysan Albatrosses as well as 40 percent of the black-footed Albatrosses and around 20 other bird species. 

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Wisdom, The Oldest Wild Bird, Hatches Chick At The Age Of 70

Unfortunately, this vital habitat is threatened by climate change and Albatross themselves are being killed by plastic pollution, and being attacked by invasive house mice, per the USFWS. However, house mice are not considered dangerous predators but they kill some of the albatross which are so dedicated to their eggs and barely move even after being eaten alive by mice.

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Albatross lay only one egg per year, and hence every individual egg or chick plays a significant role and contributes to the increase in the population of Albatross. Wisdom is a rockstar of her species, and hopefully, many more years to come for her. 

Wisdom’s annual arrival and growing popularity brought awareness to the people and made her a valuable symbol for conservation also.

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