62-Year-Old Albatross Has Chick

Scientists amazed by 'Wisdom'

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 6, 2013 1:12 PM CST

(Newser) – Is 62 too old to be a mom? Not for Wisdom, the oldest known living wild bird in the world, whose latest healthy chick hatched Sunday. The Laysan albatross, who lives in the Pacific Ocean's Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and was tagged by scientists in 1956, is already more than twice the age an average Laysan albatross reaches. And scientists previously believed that most albatross females lose their fertility later in life, as other birds do. Wisdom, however, could cause them to change their theories, the Washington Post reports.

She's raised as many as 35 chicks in her life, five of them from 2006 on. Since she was tagged, she's estimated to have flown an incredible 3 million miles, or "four to six trips from the Earth to the Moon and back again with plenty of miles to spare," according to a US Geological Survey statement. "It blows us away that this is a 62-year-old bird and she keeps laying eggs and raising chicks," says a USGS scientist, adding that they don't know when Wisdom will stop reproducing: "That in and of itself is pretty amazing." The second-oldest albatross known to have a chick was 61.

At 60 years old in 2011, Wisdom is seen with a chick at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge near Hawaii.   (AP Photo/US Geological Survey)
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