America's oldest wild bird is a new mom
Wisdom, a Laysan albatross at least 60 years old, rears her latest chick on Midway Atoll last month.
March 9th, 2011
07:17 AM ET

America's oldest wild bird is a new mom

She's at least 60 years old, flies some 50,000 miles a year, has had almost three dozen kids - and now she's got another one.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that Wisdom, a Laysan albatross whom they describe as the Northern Hemisphere's oldest wild bird, is rearing another chick on Midway Atoll in the Northern Pacific.

“To know that she can still successfully raise young at age 60-plus, that is beyond words," Bruce Peterjohn, the chief of the North American Bird Banding Program, said in a press release.

Biologist John Klavitter, deputy manager of the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, spotted and photographed Wisdom on the atoll in February, according to a report from the U.S. Geological Survey.

The bird was first identified and banded by a USGS researcher in 1956 when she was incubating an egg, according to the USGS. As the Laysan albatross can't breed before age 5 - and spends much of its life before that at sea - scientists estimate Wisdom is at least 60 years old. She may be even older, though, as most Laysan albatrosses don't breed until age 8 or 9 after an extended courtship, according to the USGS.

The Laysan albatross mates for life. No word on whether a 60-year-old Mr. Wisdom is somewhere on Midway or whether Wisdom is charting new skies in that area too.

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Filed under: Animals • Nature • Science • U.S.
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Daphne Davidson

    Thanks CNN for something positive. This is an amazing story.

    March 9, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Zeppelin

    Congratulations! 😀

    March 9, 2011 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. NotAChef

    Quick! Someone distract the Ancient Mariner!

    March 9, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • olderwiser

      cute:) at least there is one literate person here. I also think of the song with the verse 'the albatros and the whale, they are my brothers...' or something to that effect. The bird is beautiful and i hope the baby gets the chance to grow up and my grandson can read about it's 60th.:)

      peace out people!!

      March 9, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Diana

    Aw this made me smile... I love good news in the morning.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Prince Charles

      GIGGITTY 🙂

      March 9, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Biff_n_Sully

    Here's a time where you can say: "She's really an old bird!" and get away with it.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  6. Crater

    Band on the leg, band on the leg,
    The jailor man, and sailor sam, are searching every egg.
    For the band on the leg. doo doo doo doo doo doo
    The band on the leg ...

    😛

    March 9, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • olderwiser

      hmm, a bit of a stretch, but funny:)

      March 9, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. yan

    i hope i look that good at sixty

    March 9, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. Frank

    This bird is one that the bird folks are aware of that is this old.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      It is funny they declare it the oldest bird. Like they know lol

      March 9, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. mlc in CA

    What a babe. She doesn't look a day past 50.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. Birdie

    60 yr old bird-ho.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. Birdie

    Ppl, if Wisdom feels confident enough about the future to raise yet another chick (what a bird-ho), then why worry about May 21, Dec 21, 2012, or any other "dooms day" date? Just sit back, have another chick (for breakfast, if you like), and enjoy life!

    March 9, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • olderwiser

      brilliant:)

      March 9, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. pd

    Gotta find out where they made that 60-yr old band that Wisdom is wearin'. Looks b(r)and new. Then again, maybe Wisdom has been hangin' around with the USGS bander on a regular basis.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Maybe it's a huge world-girdling conspiracy to disguise the bird's actual birthplace so that it can one day become President of Birdland! Or maybe the band is aluminum . . .

      March 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jared

    that bird looks kool!!!

    March 9, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. Funny

    Just read Kens post Real funny Ken said, she A bond girl with the number 007 way funny

    March 9, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  15. db

    I"m 57....and when I think that that bird was 3 when I was born is unbelievable. Can't get my head around it!

    March 9, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
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