An albatross named Wisdom continues to amaze wildlife experts as the world’s oldest known breeding bird in the wild.
Wisdom is a Laysan albatross that nests on the Midway Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Her age? About 67 years old.
Wisdom was first banded by wildlife researchers on the Midway Atoll all the way back in 1956. Researchers estimated her age to be five years old at the time making the year of her birth 1951.
Since 2002, she has returned to Midway with her mate, Akeakamai, almost every year. Since Albatrosses are monogamous and have the same mate for life, researchers speculate that Akeakamai could be her second or third “husband” due to her advanced age.
In December, Akeakamai was spotted by US Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) nesting on the island. Last week, Wisdom returned to the nest and is now incubating an egg.
“An albatross egg is important to the overall albatross population,” said Bob Beyton, USFWS project leader for the Midway Atoll Refuge.
“If you consider that albatross don’t always lay an egg each year and when they do, they only raise one chick at a time–each egg is tremendously important in maintaining the survival of the colony,” he continued.
This latest egg is estimated to be Wisdom’s 35-40th chick. For a threatened species, Wisdom’s offspring have been vital to the survival of the Laysan albatross.
Since she was tagged in 1956, Wisdom has flown over three million miles. Over that time, researchers have had to replace her tag six times.
The Midway Atoll is a predator-free island, making it a safe haven for more than three million seabirds.
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