64-Year-Old Albatross Is The Oldest Bird To Lay An Egg

December 3, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

A 64-year-old albatross is set to lay her egg any day now and will become one of the oldest mother birds on earth. Wisdom, a Laysan albatross that returns to a Hawaiian refuge every year, is already mother to at least 36 other chicks.

64-year-old albatross

Wisdom, a 64-year-old albatross, is set to lay her 37th egg in the upcoming days and by doing so, she might be the oldest bird to have a chick in the habitat for millions of seabirds.

The beautiful Laysan albatross arrived at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial in Hawaii on November 19 and was seen mating by volunteers.

Midway Atoll, which is over half a million acres, is located in the nation’s largest conservation area, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The famous albatross, which was tagged by scientists in 1956, has been returning to the wildlife refuge almost every year to lay just one egg. After mating, the albatross left and is expected to go back in a few days to lay her egg.

According to Deputy Refuge Manager Bret Wolfe, the albatross has had more than one mate in her lifetime and has welcomed over 36 chicks. She has also traveled over six million miles in 64 years. Wolfe shared:

“Wisdom left soon after mating but we expect her back any day now to lay her egg. It is very humbling to think that she has been visiting Midway for at least 64 years. Navy sailors and their families likely walked by her not knowing she could possibly be rearing a chick over 50 years later. She represents a connection to Midway’s past as well as embodying our hope for the future.”

Refuge Manager Dan Clark explained that it is believed that Wisdom is 64 years old, but she could be older. Clark said that while many birds lose their bands, Wisdom’s bands have always been replaced, and her life is very well documented. Clark stated:

“In the face of dramatic seabird population decreases worldwide –70% drop since the 1950’s when Wisdom was first banded–Wisdom has become a symbol of hope and inspiration. We are a part of the fate of Wisdom and it is gratifying to see her return because of the decades of hard work conducted to manage and protect albatross nesting habitat.”

It is estimated that the albatross and her mate will spend six months rearing and feeding their young.


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