The world’s oldest known wild bird, a Laysan albatross named Wisdom, is a mother again at the age of 67 years old. Wisdom and her mate Akeakamai welcomed their newest chick this week to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.
Wisdom has been returning to the same nesting site on Midway Atoll since at least 1956, when she was first banded. She’s one of more than three million seabirds that return to Midway Atoll each year to rest, mate, lay eggs and raise their chicks.
Wisdom’s longevity isn’t the only important aspect of her story. She also demonstrates a conservation success story.
Biologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working to restore the habitat that seabirds need at Midway Atoll and throughout the Pacific; and they are removing threats like invasive predators–because protecting the future for seabirds means protecting the places they call home, according to USFWS.
“Laysan albatross and other seabirds depend on the habitat protected by Midway Atoll and other remote Pacific wildlife refuges,” said Bob Peyton, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Refuge Manager for Midway Atoll Refuge and Memorial in a Feb. 23 USFWS online post.
Albatrosses and other seabirds return to the same nesting site each year, where they lay a single egg and incubate it for a little over two months. Five months will pass before the chick leaves the nest. In that time, Wisdom and Akeakamai, like all albatross parents, take turns incubating the egg or caring for the chick while the other forages for food at sea.
Photo courtesy of USFWS