Wisdom, the Oldest Bird in the World Hatches New Chick


Wisdom, the oldest known bird in the world at age 63, has just seen her newest chick hatch! Wow!

Wisdom and her chick on Midway Atoll NWR. Photo credit: Ann Bell/USFWS

Wisdom and her chick on Midway Atoll NWR. Photo credit: Ann Bell/USFWS

One of the surprising things about writing a nonfiction piece is that the story isn’t finished yet. Our world doesn’t just stop, it’s not stagnate. Life goes on. And that means that Wisdom has yet another chick.

Laysan albatrosses are known to take a year off now and then, usually at 4-5 year intervals. Wisdom has continuously hatched a chick since 2008, so she’ overdue for a sabbatical. This year, I was worried that she might not return and that could mean she was taking a break; or, it could mean that she died somewhere, lost at sea. Instead, Wisdom is breaking all records and teaching scientists so much about the life of an albatross. Before Wisdom–banded since 1956–scientist believed that Laysan albatrosses lived to be about 25 years old. We still don’t know if her life is an aberration or the norm. Scientists have banded Wisdom’s chicks for the last few years to follow the life of her chicks. They could fall prey to predators, storms, pollution or fishing. Or, they could live as long as Wisdom, or longer. This story is far from over. And that makes it even more exciting to me than when Wisdom first captured my attention. When will her story end? No one knows. Cool!

Cornell Bird Lab maintains a web-cam of a Laysan albatross nest on Kauai, Hawaii. Watch it here.

READ Wisdom’s remarkable biography here.Cover500x500

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