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. Buelah Bell

    My math is not wrong. I am a genius. The bird spends part of its life flying near light speed, which slows the passage of time, according to Einstein. You are all so dumb. But I am so smrt.

    March 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Einstein

      Shut up! you are making me look dumb here..

      April 4, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. janet walsh

    Hey, good for the bird!!
    Why all these responses about "end of days" when the article is about the bird? Jeez, just marvel at nature, folks!

    March 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff of Peoria

    Wonder what they taste like?? Chicken I bet

    March 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Willie the Pimp

      I bet Jeff of Peoria tastes like pigeon.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ancient Marinator

      Why lookst thou so? With my crossbow, I shot the albatross.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Cleese

      It's not any bloody flavour, mate. What, you think a strawberry albatross. It's not any flavour.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      I love John Cleese , he's one of my favorite actors

      March 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe

    She will soon qualify for Medicare.

    March 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TrudyBird

    She looks fabulous! What a beautiful specimen. She's an amazing old girl and I truly enjoyed reading about her.

    March 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dwayne Hoover

    Stupid f@#*ing Bird.

    March 9, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. randomposter

    so is the miracle the birds age or the fact that it survived that long?

    March 9, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. s altenbach

    ok come on! How on God's green earth can anyone possibly say that this is the 'OLDEST' living wild bird??? Do you think Joe Q public is stupid? Perhaps you are stupid – it must be a slow news day!!!!!!

    March 9, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Q Pubic

      Hey. I resemble that remark.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bella

    this must be a "change of life chick"

    March 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. nature girl

    Say what you will about this bird, i think she is one of the most beautiful sights i have ever seen. weather she is really the oldest bird or not really does not matter. when i look at her i see all that is good with the world instead of what is wrong with the world. when i look at her i feel pure happiness and peace.. may she live for many years to come so others can enjoy her beauty.

    March 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • bella

      I totally agree...

      March 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • smh

      Tree-hugging hippie

      March 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kayo

    I was stationed on Midway in 77-78 when the Navy controlled the island. I may have known her when she was a perky 20 something. Still looking good after all those years.

    March 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carla Barnes

      I amy also know this bird. See my post below. I may have been present when she was banded.
      I have always wanted to back to Midway for a visit.

      March 11, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tyrannasaurus

    She's fabulous.

    March 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sandra LeVin

    She's beautiful and wise looking.

    March 9, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mary

    Bye to all I have overstayed my welcome

    March 9, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Brutus Laysan

    My name is Brutus, I'm a Albatross Laysan and you humans are crazy talking about books and the end of the world, why aren't you all collecting squid to celebrate my Girlfriends (so what if she is older she is a talented Cougar) article and bring it to my cup (aka Nest for you unknowings) and then bring me squid brew cause my sperm made this furry little beast.

    I'm sad that many of you don't know that making a fur ball like this lovely little one is a huge undertaking, It took me and 5 other of my pals to make this egg hatching happen, it was a blood fest but if you knew mating season you'd understand, and what happen on Sand Island STAYSSS on Sand Island 😉

    March 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • engrish

      Your creative writing class called, they want their membership card back.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
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