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World's oldest living bird gives birth to a hatchling at the age of 62


A Laysan Albatross chick (Phoebastria immutabilis) makes its home at Midway Atoll. The island is visited by almost two million birds every year. US President G.W. Bush designated the Northwest Hawaiian Islands as a national monument June 15, 2006, and is the single largest conservation area created in U.S. history and is the largest protected marine area in the world.


Shealah Craighead (Wikimedia Commons)

A 62-year old Laysan Alabatross named "Wisdom" has successfully given birth to a chick, yet another remarkable achievement in this long-lived bird's well documented life.

Wisdom, the oldest living wild bird known to science, blew scientists away when they discovered that the bird — who would be pushing retirement age if she were human — had managed to successfully hatch a new chick, says the Washington Post.

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This isn't Wisdom's first turn in the international news cycle. The bird made headlines in 2011 when she somehow managed to weather the 2011 tsunami that washed over the Midway Atoll, the remote island where she customarily nests, wrote Discovery News.

How do we know Wisdom is so old? She was first tagged by the US Geological Survey back in 1956, according to the agency, and was rediscovered by scientists in 2001.

She last successfully reared a chick in 2011, at the age of 60, and likely has traveled between 2 to 3 million miles since she was first tagged in 1956.

“To know that she can still successfully raise young at age 60-plus, that is beyond words," said Bruce Peterjohn of Wisdom in 2011 in a USGS statement.

"While the process of banding a bird has not changed greatly during the past century, the information provided by birds marked with a simple numbered metal band has transformed our knowledge of birds.”