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At 63, The World's Oldest Wild Bird Just Had A Baby

Jennifer Welsh

Ann Bell/USFWS

At 63 years young, the oldest wild bird that we know of, Wisdom the Laysan a lbatross, has had another baby!

Almost exactly a year after her last chick was born, the new baby started cracking out of its shell. Refuge workers first spotted the baby bird on Feb. 4, according to the U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service (USFWS). 

The birds live on the on the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the  Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, in the Hawaiian  archipelago . They arrive every year to mate, build a nest, lay an egg and incubate it, then hatch and brood their chick. The birds mate for life and take turns sitting on the egg. 

It takes 365 days to lay and incubate the egg, then raise the chick. The albatross only lays one egg a year and then usually takes a breeding year off. But Wisdom amazingly, usually has a new chick each year. 

Here's her right after laying the egg on Nov. 29, 2013:

wisdom and egg

Pete Leary/USFWS

Wisdom was first banded in 1956, m aking her the world's oldest wild bird. She was an adult when banded, so was at least a few years old. They think she's at least 63 now. They think she's raised between 30 and 35 chicks. 

"As the world’s oldest known bird in the wild, Wisdom is an iconic symbol of inspiration and hope for all seabird species." said Dan Clark, refuge manager for Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is quoted in an article on the USFWS Pacific's Tumblr blog. "She provides to the world valuable information about the longevity of these beautiful creatures.  In the case of Wisdom, she has logged literally millions of miles over the Pacific Ocean in her lifetime to find enough fish eggs and squid to feed herself and multiple chicks, allowing us the opportunity to measure the health of our oceans which sustain albatross as well as ourselves."

The USFWS Pacific has tons of great photos of Wisdom and her new (and previous) chicks on Flickr.  Here's her last chick, born in February of 2013 at three weeks old: 


Photos by: J. Klavitter/USFWS

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