LIFESTYLE

World's Oldest Known Wild Bird Is Expecting A New Chick

Congratulations, Wisdom!

14/12/2016 4:19 AM IST | Updated 14/12/2016 11:21 PM IST
Kristina McOmber/Kupu Conservation Leadership Program USFWS
Wisdom, a Laysan albatross, has plenty of experience with this whole "hatching an egg" thing.

This old bird has done it again.

Wisdom, a Laysan albatross and the world’s oldest known wild bird, is at least 66 years old and is incubating an egg, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week. Before observing Wisdom, scientists believed that the upper age limit for a Laysan albatross was 40.

Scientists identify Wisdom by the unique red band on her right leg. Biologist Chandler Robbins first tagged her at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in 1956, and when he returned in 2002, he ran into his old friend once again.

Now, Wisdom has returned to nest at Midway, which is a little more than 1,000 miles northwest of Honolulu. Since 2006 alone, she’s fledged at least nine chicks, the USFWS notes.

USFWS
Kūkini, a chick Wisdom hatched earlier this year.

Wisdom is currently incubating her egg while she waits for her mate, Akeakamai (a Hawaiian word meaning “love of wisdom,” which is a great pun) to return. After that, Akeakamai will take over nesting duties for a bit while Wisdom returns to the ocean to find food and get her energy back up.

Kiah Walker/USFWS Volunteer
Lovebirds: Wisdom and&nbsp;<a>Akeakamai.</a>

Like any strong, successful lady, Wisdom has some haters. The Washington Post notes that there are some Wisdom truthers out there who don’t believe an albatross that old is still laying eggs. Skeptics say it’s possible that at some point, her identifying band was switched to another bird’s leg.

No matter the bird’s true identity, we look forward to seeing her adorable offspring about three months from now.

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