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. herrsonic

    Of course, father is no where to be found

    March 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Big Bird

    I'd hit it.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elmo

      Sicko.

      March 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Bird

      How am I a sicko? She's a bird, I'm a bird, we're about the same age. What about you? "Elmo LOVES his goldfish, his crayons too." Really, who's the sicko, you pervert.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Willie the Pimp

      How's your Bird?

      March 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Terry Jones

    Two choc ices, please.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Klaatu

      And a partrige in a pear tree!

      March 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • American Idiot

      Ha. We also would have accepted "What flavour is it?" and "Do you get wafers with it?".

      March 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      You wanna burn the bird too ?

      April 4, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Morbo

    Albatrosses give Morbo gas.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ancient Marinator

      Instead of a cross, the albatross about my neck was hung.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Maurice

    This is AWESOME news!!! Hope for the beautiful birds we share this earth with. I didn't even know that they lived THAT long. WOW. She was first caught and tagged before both my parents were even born, before the Vietnam War even. All these years since then that us humans have been hustlin and bustlin and causin havoc on this earth – all these social movements, wars, even men on the moon; and the whole time this beautiful bird has been flying freely in the sky, swoopin down catchin fish, and laying eggs and being a good momma raising baby chics, just living life in harmony with nature. AMEN.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mandy

      Wow when you put it that way... that is unbelievable.. She has been around, living happily, raising babies, while chaos has swirls around our planet for over 60 years.. Amazing.. truly amazing.

      March 10, 2011 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. Patrish

    Good for her. I just hope human females don't decide that is the thing to do...

    March 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kimo

    How do they know it was her egg? She might just be a foster mom. Better do a DNA test on the chick when it hatches.

    March 9, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cesar

    This is a clear sign that the U.S. needs to fully invade Libya, establish a full-time military compound, and seize all of their oil wells – all in the name of preserving Western ideology and spreading our faith. I hope you can see the correlation, I certainly can.

    March 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Natureis Amazing

    What a beautifal bird. For 60+ years old she still looks in amazing shape (I was expecting a bird looking a little rough around the edges!!). Cool~

    March 9, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Frank Sinatra

    How's your bird?

    March 9, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Alex

    looks great for her age

    March 9, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ed bailey

    Wisdom,you and I are REALly close to the same age.you are the bomb girl.the last child I raised broke me for life. No amount of money would entice me to do it again.and Nicole, wherever you are – stay there! Give it hell wisdom.

    March 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. onder

    That Buelah Bell is dumb. Did you all read her comment.

    March 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. joe

    A good possibility this bird was flying with planes on those same atolls during ww2.

    March 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Burrito

    @Buelah Bell

    DO THE MATH... ITS NOT 55... they tagged her while she had her egg. they don't breed until 6-9 year old... so she's older than 55...

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