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. Sally

    Ahh, longevity. Nothing a little BP oil can't cure.

    March 9, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. kim

    Thats one tough old bird nature has been around longer then are expiration date she just doing what comes naturaly.

    March 9, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JD

    I'm sure a lot of people have done this calculation but 50K miles a year times 60 years is 3 million miles.
    Very cool.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Calimafia

    Did Charlie Sheen have anything to do with this? Was it fowl play?????????

    March 9, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nspirate_ca

    She looks great for her age!

    March 9, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. EmeraldCity

    A sweet picture. Keep soaring, Wisdom.

    March 9, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. babalou

    Wisdom is an incredible bird. Great story and wow photo. Awful blog.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. EdieRose

    Who cares how old ms. , albatross is 50 or 60 or 70 its still a cute story and may she continue to live as long as possible and enjoy her bird life.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. thunderlizard

    I wonder how much tax money was spent to find this out, I would bet a family of four could live quite comfortable for several years on the amount spent.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. James

    time to order kfc lol

    March 10, 2011 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Einstein

      kfa you mean..yumm

      April 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. lvanboven

    Relax thunderlizard and enjoy the story. Yeah Wisdom, you go girl!

    March 10, 2011 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. DeathtoEarth

    Wow, an innocuous post about the longevity of a seabird gets all the religious psychos coming out of the woodwork. Shocking...

    March 10, 2011 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
  13. admiral 149

    They mate for life, but, play around too. In any event she seems to be holding up better than I am.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. mickey

    this is bird is the american dream!

    March 10, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. Truth

    At 60, we're going to have to call Wisdom a cougar.

    March 10, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
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