Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
February 5, 2013 5:10 PM   Subscribe

World’s Oldest Known Wild Bird Hatches Another Chick. Laysan albatross known as “Wisdom” – believed to be at least 62 years old – has hatched a chick on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. [PDF]

Wisdom has worn out five bird bands since she was first banded by U.S. Geological Survey scientist Chandler Robbins in 1956. Robbins estimated Wisdom to be at least 5 years old at the time, since this is the earliest age at which these birds breed. Typically, they breed at 8 or 9 years of age after a very involved courtship lasting over several years so Wisdom could be even older than 62.

“As Wisdom rewrites the record books, she provides new insights into the remarkable biology of seabirds,” said Bruce Peterjohn, chief of the North American Bird Banding Program at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, MD. “It is beyond words to describe the amazing accomplishments of this wonderful bird and how she demonstrates the value of bird banding to better understand the world around us. If she were human, she would be elible for Medicare in a couple years yet she is still regularly raising young and annually circumnavigating the Pacific Ocean. Simply incredible.” [Photo]
posted by zinon (8 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, that's excellent news! I remember hearing about her a couple of years back when she had her last chick, and I remember wondering a month or two ago if she was still around. Glad to see she is!
posted by tavella at 5:27 PM on February 5, 2013

(But have they definitively ruled out the possibility that the birds are switching bands to screw with scientists?)
posted by Glinn at 5:45 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Pete at Midway is a biologist who blogs about the albatrosses - very interesting stuff. He's written about Wisdom in the past . Artist Chris Jordan is filming a documentary about the albatrosses -Midway is in the midst of the Great Pacific Garbage patch and the babies eat the plastic and many die. Warning - his images are very disturbing. I heard him speak about the project recently - was both fascinating and very sad.
posted by leslies at 5:56 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]

This is all very interesting.
posted by shoesietart at 8:24 PM on February 5, 2013

I cannot see a reference to Laysan Island without thinking of the Laysan Island Cyclorama at my alma mater.

It's an amazing exhibit about the ecology of the island and the disaster that befell when rabbits were imported to the island as a source of game. The rabbits, as the narration says, "nibbled their way to oblivion."
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:57 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

That bird is OLD. I had no idea they got so old! OLD BIRD.

A little tired tonight.
posted by two lights above the sea at 10:24 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

She's no spring chicken, that's for sure.
posted by fight or flight at 2:06 AM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

By the time her chick is in college she'll be in her eighties.
posted by XMLicious at 7:23 AM on February 6, 2013

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