Albatross Wisdom 40th chick: World’s oldest bird hatches baby chick

February 13, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Albatross Wisdom welcomed her 40th chick at the age of 65. According to experts at the Hawaiian wildlife refuge, Wisdom, which is the oldest wild bird to lay an egg and her mate known as Gooo, shared incubation duties until it hatched and little Kūkini showed its head to the world this week.

Albatross Wisdom 40th chick pic

Albatross Wisdom’s 40th chick has been given the name Kūkini, which means messenger, according to a Facebook post shared by the workers at the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Honolulu, Hawaii.

In mid-November, the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial was thrilled to announce that Wisdom had returned where she entered the history books by being the oldest wild bird at the age of 64 to lay an egg. In the fall of 2015, volunteers counted over 470,000 active nests, (each nest had a male and female) across the refuge.

Wisdom that had traveled over six million miles, (which is the equivalent of six trips from the Earth to the Moon and back), in her life, had returned to the nesting colony almost every year to mate and had given birth to a total of 36 or 39 chicks. According to experts, Wisdom faced numerous threats during her trips including choking on ocean debris, getting caught in fishing nets, and getting eaten by other animals.

Deputy Refuge Manager Bret Wolfe shared many pictures of the bird and explained at the time:

“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.”

Earlier this week, Wolfe returned to social media to announce some great news and heart-melting images and sweet videos. According to the expert, Wisdom is the happy mother of her 40th chick at the age of 65 after mating with an albatross named Gooo – the name reflects the number 6,000 on the identification band around his leg.

Gooo was in charge of incubation duties until late January as Wisdom searched for food such as squid, small fish, and fish eggs. The birds exchanged places in early February, which is when the new chick started showing signs of coming out. After a few more days, the baby bird broke out of his egg and was named Kūkini, which is Hawaiian for messenger. The big announcement read:

ANNOUNCING the Arrival of Kūkini and WISDOM Too!
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 (show here helping Kūkini hatch) 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, so stay tuned for more videos from Midway Atoll within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

Another update revealed that the albatross spent most of yesterday “sleeping while she kept Kūkini warm in a drizzling rain.” On February 12, the post shared that:

He’s Back!
Wisdom’s mate returned to feed Kūkini (Hawaiian name for Wisdom’s chick which means “messenger”) yesterday evening at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. He has been gone for only three days, versus his last 18 day sea duty tour, while Wisdom was taking her turn on the nest. His biological clock told him to make his absence short because Kūkini needs regular feedings. Wisdom’s dutiful mate will be honored with a name when the polls close tomorrow @HawaiiReef so stayed tuned-in!

What do you think of Albatross Wisdom’s new milestone?

Celebrating the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science! This post of Wisdom feeding Kūkini is in…

Posted by Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument on Thursday, February 11, 2016

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    1. patty says:

      They look so adorable, I would love to see them upclose. Hope she has more chicks.


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