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World's Oldest Known Wild Bird Will Make All Other Moms Genuflect

Baby No. 37 is on its way for Wisdom the albatross, 68
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2018 12:20 PM CST
In this Febuary 2011 photo provided by the US Geological Survey, Wisdom is seen with a chick at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge near Hawaii.   (AP Photo/US Geological Survey)

(Newser) – Dear tired moms of the world: Meet Wisdom, whose dozens of young ones are about to gain another sibling. The Guardian notes that while it may indeed seem "preposterous" for a 68-year-old human to still be having kids, it's apparently different for some birds, including this Laysan albatross that's about to witness her 37th egg hatch at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has confirmed the existence of the new egg at the refuge, where Wisdom and her mate, Akeakamai, have headed to once a year for the past 12 years to mate, per Smithsonian.com. An ID band was first placed on Wisdom in 1956 by birder Chandler Robbins, who himself died just last year at the age of 98.

That band has made it possible for researchers to keep tabs on Wisdom over the decades, offering invaluable insight into the albatross's habits in the wild. What makes Wisdom somewhat "exceptional" even among her own kind is that most albatrosses, which can only lay one egg a year, don't typically do so annually, as the process of taking care of it is a grueling one. Wisdom, however, "has bred for a number of years consecutively and has not taken a break," a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist says. Also noteworthy: Wisdom was able to create this egg with the help of her "longtime lover" Akeakamai, and the Guardian dives further into just how seriously albatrosses take their romantic relationships, engaging in yearly courting rituals to keep the fires burning. (We've heard from Wisdom before.)

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