62-Year-Old Albatross Gives Birth; Scientists Baffled

Published:3:59 pm EDT, February 6, 2013| Updated:4:00 pm EDT, February 6, 2013|
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A 62-year-old albatross named Wisdom is now the oldest known wild bird to give birth

She's no spring chicken, but it appears as though Wisdom the albatross has still got it going on.

At 62 years old, the new mother has just become the oldest known wild bird to give birth, according to a statement from the USGS (United States Geological Survey).

The fact that she's still alive after this long is pretty noteworthy in itself — the average Laysan albatross lives to only half of her current age, and even then most of them become infertile later in their lives. Wisdom, who birthed her chick at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, has raised an estimated 35 chicks in her lifetime, according to the statement.

Bruce Peterjohn told the Washington Post that Wisdom has flown over 3 million miles in her lifetime, which is pretty astounding.

Even so, she has a lot more than mileage to offer to the scientific community. Her late birthing age will give scientists insight into the life of the albatross, but it'll also tell them a great deal about the health of the oceans. For a bird to live this long, the logic would follow that the oceans had to be healthy enough to support it.

Scientists have been able to follow Wisdom throughout her life because of a tracking band first placed on her ankle in 1956. Most tags fall off eventually, which could make the average age of the albatross much older than scientists previously thought.

Wisdom the albatross, 62, is the oldest known bird to give birth in the wild

Albatrosses mate for life, so it may be that Wisdom has gone through several of them in her unusually long life. Either way, her current mate is doing his part, as seen in the photo above.

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