62-year-old bird hatches another chick

Feb. 12, 2013 at 6:14 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- One of the world's oldest wild birds, believed to be at least 62 years old, has successfully hatched a chick on Midway Island, scientists said.

A Laysan albatross known as "Wisdom" hatched the chick in the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

It was the sixth consecutive year Wisdom and her mate hatched a chick, scientists said.

Wisdom, first banded in 1956 when she was incubating an egg in the same area of the refuge, was at least 5 years old at the time, they said.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists 19 of the world's 21 species of albatross as threatened with extinction.

"Everyone continues to be inspired by Wisdom as a symbol of hope for her species," said Doug Staller, the Fish and Wildlife Service superintendent for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which includes Midway Atoll NWR.

Wisdom has likely raised at least 30 to 35 chicks during her breeding life, USGS scientists said.

"If she were human, she would be eligible for Medicare in a couple years yet she is still regularly raising young and annually circumnavigating the Pacific Ocean," Bruce Peterjohn, chief of the USGS's North American Bird Banding Program, said. "Simply incredible."

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