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article imageOldest known wild bird gives us reason to celebrate

By Karen Graham     Mar 5, 2021 in Environment
Wisdom the Laysan albatross has done it again. At close to 70 years of age, Wisdom is considered the oldest known tagged wild bird. She welcomed a new chick on February 1, at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.
This latest chick is one of at least 35 offspring for Wisdom, who has outlived previous mating partners as well as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Chandler Robbins, who first banded her.
Robbins first banded Wisdom in 1956. He replaced the band in 2002. An albatross lays just one egg a year, and Wisdom has done so in eight of the last 11 years, reports National Geographic.
The return of Wisdom and her mate, Akeakamai, to their nest site at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in late November, marked an exciting milestone for wildlife officials, who anticipated they might hatch another chick.
“Each year that Wisdom returns, we learn more about how long seabirds can live and raise chicks,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Beth Flint. “Her return not only inspires bird lovers everywhere but helps us better understand how we can protect these graceful seabirds and the habitat they need to survive into the future.”
Wisdom and Akeakamai have been together since 2012 when he was first banded. Biologists have estimated that the lifespan of an albatross is 12 to 40 years. So Wisdom's age and the fact that she has produced another offspring is cause for celebration and a beacon of hope for the species.
Biologists first observed the egg pipping — or shell cracking — on Jan. 29, and the chick hatched several days later on the first of February, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
More than a million Laysan Albatrosses  also known as  gooney birds  overwhelmingly occupy the entir...
More than a million Laysan Albatrosses, also known as "gooney birds" overwhelmingly occupy the entire Midway atoll.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark Logico
The Laysan Albatross
The Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) is a large seabird that ranges across the North Pacific. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are home to 99.7 percent of the population.
Millions of albatross return yearly to the Midway atoll at Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and the Laysan atoll. When away from the breeding areas, they range widely from Japan to the Bering Sea and south to 15°N.
Midway, one of the oldest atoll formations in the world, provides a refuge for roughly 70 percent of the world’s Laysan albatrosses and 40 percent of black-footed albatrosses, along with endangered short-tailed albatrosses and 20 other bird species.
More about laysan albatross, Wisdom, oldest tagged bird, 70 years, Chandler Robbins
 
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