Wisdom and her mate prepare to begin their first shift of incubation, Photo credit: Pete Leary, USFWS

They say you are only as old as you feel and it seems that Wisdom, the world’s oldest bird, isn’t feeling her 62 years. More impressive than the age of this now famous Laysan albatross is that she is a new mom. Wisdom and her mate were spotted on November 28 by a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist building up the nest around a new egg and preparing for the first incubation shift.

This isn’t the first time these two have readied their nest. Laysan albatrosses mate for life and Wisdom has raised between 30 to 35 chicks since being banded in 1956 at an estimated age of 5. Laying only one egg per year, a breeding albatross will spend a tiring 365 days incubating and raising a chick. Most albatross parents then take the following year off (and who could blame them?) but not Wisdom.

Nesting consecutively since 2008, Wisdom’s continued contribution to the fragile albatross population is remarkable and important. Her health and dedication have led to the birth of other healthy offspring which will help recover albatross populations on Laysan and other islands.

Albatross, particularly as chicks, face many threats. Chicks can’t fly away from invasive predators like rats or escape weather-related risks like flooding and hot spells. If they make it to adulthood, they face different threats. Manmade problems like marine debris and pollution are dangers faced by all albatross. Although the population of Laysan albatross has strengthened to roughly 2.5 million, 19 out of the 22 species of albatross are threatened or endangered.

 

 

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Replies to This Discussion

Wonderful article Steph!  So interesting to learn!  Thanks for sharing this!~ Melinda

Dr Sylvia Earle oceanographer, aquanaut and author

This is one remarkable woman and so much fun to follow her adventures. Thanks, Steph, for sharing this delightful piece. 

Thanks for stopping by to read it Joan. Sure do appreciate it.

62 years old, amazing!

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