62-Year-Old Albatross Has Miracle Baby

Bird is oldest known in wild

Feb 7, 2013
Outside Magazine

Wisdom, a 62-year-old albatross, has hatched another chick. As the oldest known wild bird, scientists are astounded by her fertility. Those studying Wisdom's chick say the young bird appears healthy, but she might face teasing by her much older siblings.

Wisdom lives on Midway Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Famous as the site of a battle against Japan, Midway is now a national wildlife refuge that is home to hundreds of thousands of albatross every year. The bird was first tagged during the Eisenhower administration in 1956 by a scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey. At the time she was estimated to be about five years old. Time has certainly flown by (Good one—Ed.).

“If she were human, she would be eligible for Medicare in a couple of years, yet she is still regularly raising young and annually circumnavigating the Pacific Ocean,” said Bruce Peterjohn, chief of the North American bird banding program at the U.S. Geological Survey. “Simply incredible.”

The oldest known woman to give birth naturally was 59 at the time. Scientists estimate that Wisdom has given birth to 35 chicks in her lifetime and based on her annual flight patterns has traveled between two and three million miles, or about four trips to the moon and back.

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