The oldest known bird to lay an egg and raise a chick is apparently ready to do it all again.
The oldest known bird to lay an egg and raise a chick landed over Thanksgiving weekend at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific Ocean, apparently to do it again, at age 64.
Her name is Wisdom, but it should probably be Ancient Wisdom, because she apparently knows things that scientists don’t. “It continues to just blow our minds,” said Bruce G. Peterjohn, chief of the Bird Banding Laboratory at the U.S. Geological Services Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md.
Here’s why Wisdom’s accomplishments are mind-boggling, and why she’s a celebrity among bird scientists and bird watchers.
First, albatrosses are expected to live a little more than half as long as Wisdom. They are certainly not expected to lay eggs and raise chicks at an age when most Americans are starting to collect Social Security payments.
The oldest albatross other than Wisdom to lay an egg was Grandma of the Northern Royal species at age 61. Grandma hasn’t been seen at her nesting ground at Taiaroa Head, New Zealand, in five years and is presumed dead.