Wisdom The Albatross, The World’s Oldest Known Wild Bird, Has Another Chick At Age 70

Referred to as the “oldest known wild bird in history”, Wisdom has outlived previous mating partners as well as the biologist Chandler Robbins, who first banded her in 1956.

Wisdom hatched her chick on the 1st of February in the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the North Pacific, where over a million Albatross return to nest each year.

Wisdom’s long-term mate, Akeakamai, who she has been mating with since 2010 according to the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), fathered the chick.

The USFWS also say that the Albatross find their mates through “dance parties”.

We believe Wisdom has had other mates. Though albatross mate for life, they may find new partners if necessary – for example, if they outlive their first mate.

Dr Beth Flint – US Fish and Wildlife Biologist.

“Each year that Wisdom returns, we learn more about how long seabirds can live and raise chicks,” Dr Beth Flint continued.

The USFWS has estimated, Wisdom has hatched more than 30 chicks over the course of her lifetime.

Sean Dooley, National Public Affairs Manager for BirdLife Australia, was excited about the news of Wisdom’s latest chick:

“Because she only nests every two years, the international bird community looks forward to seeing if she’s been able to come back and nest,

“The odds are stacked against them so much, whenever it happens it’s always a cause for celebration.”

In addition to this species being slow breeders, longline fishing and other fishing industries have taken a big toll on sea birds such as the Albatross.

He also said that climate change was affecting Wisdom’s species.

“The changes in water temperate and the changes in currents in water and winds means … the extent they have to fly to find food increases as their prey species seek out colder water – it’s a big looming threat that sea birds are facing, albatross in particular,” Sean Dooley continued.

In terms of Wisdom’s age, Dooley said that “for a lot of wild animals, they are productive right up to old age. It’s only primates and whales that have an extended lifespan after fertility.

“To humans, it seems remarkable but we’re still determining whether this is par for the course for these magnificent birds.”

Written by Hannah Conway