Wisdom the Albatross

65-Year-Old Albatross: The World’s Oldest Bird Just Hatched Her 40th Chick

A few months ago, the Inquisitr reported about an Albatross named Wisdom. This Laysan Albatross is widely thought to be the world’s oldest bird currently roaming planet Earth. However, what made headlines back then was not the fact that she was 65-years-old. The report was instead about the fact that she had laid an egg at such an old age. Back then, the Albatross had come back to U.S. soil – at the Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge, located northwest of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean with a mate, after remaining incognito for over a year. She was back at the world’s largest nesting albatross colony to raise her new chick — also thought to be her 40th.

Well, two months on, we can confirm that the egg laid by Wisdom did hatch and that she has had her 40th chick. This is an impressive feat for a bird as old as her, says a report by The Christian Science Monitor. The egg hatched earlier this month (February 1 to be precise) and prima facie, both the mother and the kid are doing well. The hatchling, named Baby Kūkini, was seen cracking out of the egg on February 1. Kūkini is also being cared for by its father — only identified as “Gooo.” The father is called by that name because the identification tag on his leg reads “6000.” According to locals, Kūkini is Hawaiian for “messenger” and the young bird is being mostly cared for by its father as Wisdom often leaves for long periods of time to bring back food that she regurgitates to Kūkini.

Staff from the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Honolulu post regular updates about Wisdom and her family on their official Facebook Page. An earlier post that described the arrival of Kūkini reads as follows.

“On February 1, 2016 the oldest known bird in the wild became a mother again on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and her chick’s name is Kūkini (Hawaiian for messenger). And if that wasn’t enough, as the Super Bowl ended Wisdom made her grand entrance in from the sea to take her nest duty. As soon as Kūkini was secure under Wisdom, Wisdom’s mate quickly marched the length of a football field towards a path through the dunes and took flight. We expect him to be back within a week or less because newly hatched albatross chicks require a consistent supply of fresh seafood.”

We have embedded a few tweets from them as well:

While there could be older birds out there, Wisdom is the world’s oldest known banded wild bird. She is one among the million albatrosses that are known to nest and raise families at Midway Atoll. Wisdom was first banded way back in 1956 by then 40-year-old biologist Chandler Robbins. The man who first saw her is now 97. She was “rediscovered” by him after four decades. In 1956, Wisdom was thought to be 5-years-old because that is the youngest age at which an Albatross can start breeding. That however remains an estimate and there is a chance that she could be even older.

Kūkini is widely thought to be Wisdom’s 40th chick and the eight chick that she has hatched since 2006. Another piece of amazing statistic released by officials is the fact that Wisdom might have in her lifetime, flown more than 3 million miles since she was first tagged. That is the equivalent of six trips from the Earth to the Moon and back!

Albatrosses are more widely known for their huge wingspans, as well as their long lifespans with many of them known to live between 40- to 60-years. They are also known for their annual breeding pattern and for keeping lifelong partners which they only replace in case of death or disappearance of the mate.

Let us hope Wisdom hatches another young one next year as well!

[Image Via Kiah Walker/USFWS]