An irresistibly astonishing fact!

At more than 70 years of age, Wisdom the Laysan albatross has hatched another chick. While we admit that the chances of seeing an albatross in our park run from highly unlikely to nil, some facts are just too astonishing and irresistible to be ignored.

Wisdom is widely regarded as the oldest known wild bird; she has even out-lived the biologist, Chandler Robbins, who first identified and ringed her, on Midway Atoll in the Hawaiian archipelago, back in 1956, when she was believed to be about five years old. Though albatrosses mate for life, they may find new partners if they outlive their first mate and Wisdom has outlived more than one. Her present partner is called Akeakamai and the pair were first observed together in 2010.

A Laysan albatross pair raise only one chick at a time, always in the same breeding colony. Incubation lasts for up to 66 days, among the longest of any bird species, and the male and the female share the onerous task, each sitting for periods of up to three weeks while the other is feeding out at sea. Wisdom and Akeakamai hatched this year’s chick on February 1st.

This is Akeakamai, Wisdom’s present partner and the father of her chick; the header picture is of Wisdom.

Wisdom has not reared chicks every year; the US Fish & Wildlife Service which has monitored her for almost all her life believe that she has hatched more than 30 chicks over the course of her lifetime.

The US Geological Survey has tracked her since she was first tagged, and have estimated that she has flown over 4,800,000 km since 1956 which is approximately 120 times the circumference of the Earth. What a bird!

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