Never has there been a more aptly named albatross. At 75, “Wisdom” is now the oldest wild bird to hatch a chick ever documented by science.
Laying an egg is one thing. Many birds do it without thinking – especially our domestic chickens, which pop out unfertilized eggs for our grocery stores at unnatural (literally) rates. But successfully incubating, hatching, and rearing a sweet little chick at age 75? Now that’s true “Wisdom.”
Wisdom the albatross, that is. And she is, to say the least, an absolutely remarkable bird. Firstly, she’s the world’s oldest known wild bird – having outlived the scientist who tagged her by several years now. And as of 2021, she’s now the oldest bird in documented history to ever hatch successful offspring – all at the spry ‘young’ age of 75.
The New York Post shares a photo of the remarkable lass today alongside her egg – just before hatching.
“Albatross named Wisdom becomes oldest wild bird to lay chick at 75,” the trade cites, bringing her some much-deserved fanfare. Yet it’s her tiny offspring that steals the show, which you can view below.
“Cute Baby Alert!” Albatross Supermom Hatches Chick
“Cute baby alert! Wisdom’s chick has hatched!!!,” tweets the US Fish and Wildlife Service for the Pacific region. The organization includes an image of proud Wisdom alongside her adorable, brand new fluffy chick. While the chick’s name has yet to be revealed, we do know she/he hatched into this world on February 1. Wisdom reared her young at the Midway Atoll, a national wildlife refuge some 900 miles northwest of Hawaii. A remarkable journey on any scale – but just another day in the life of an albatross.
As for the father? He’s none other than Wisdom’s long-term partner Akekamai, The New York Post cites. These two lovebirds have been together since 2010. That’s right, ladies and gents – never give up hope. These two found each other when Wisdom was 65-years-old.
Yet Akekamai is far from Wisdom’s first love. Albatross are monogamous and mate for life. They will, however, find new mates if they outlive their partner. A common issue for a bird with a lifespan that can rival humans. To this end, US Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Dr. Beth Flint believes “Wisdom has had other mates,” she cites via his agency on Medium.
In many ways, Wisdom’s remarkable life has prepared her for this remarkable birth. Flint and her team believe the albatross has reared a minimum of 30 chicks – possibly 36 or more. In short: she’s a true supermom.
“She’s a bird with a life span comparable to a human,” flint continues for National Geographic this past January. “I think her greatest contribution is the interest she stimulates in folks. She’s also drawing more people into the sciences.”
Chandler Robbins and Wisdom
How do we know all this? We can thank one Chandler Robbins, the first scientist to tag Wisdom back in 1956. Her life has been of remarkable value to science ever since. Unfortunately, Robbins died in 2017, his subject outliving him to this day.
The two had an incredible relationship in his lifetime. “After surviving countless storms and tsunamis, habitat loss and climate change, Wisdom finally earned her affectionate moniker in 2002, when she was rediscovered by Robbins, — at which point they realized that she had become the world’s oldest tracked wild bird, now at least 75, scientists estimate,” The New York Post says of their incredible journey.
The legacy that Robbins leaves to Widsom is an important one, too. Not just for her remarkable chick, but for conservation at large. She’s become a symbol for threatened seafaring birds, and an ambassador for the near-threatened to critically vulnerable albatross species across Earth’s oceans.