Wisdom, a Laysan albatross, was spotted at mating ground on Midway Atoll after a year’s absence and is expected to grow her brood, estimated at 36 chicks
Monday 30 November 2015 21.33 GMTLast modified on Monday 30 November 201521.47 GMT
The world’s oldest living tracked bird has returned to US soil to lay an egg at the sprightly age of 64.
Wisdom, a Laysan albatross, was spotted at the Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge with a mate, following a year’s absence. It’s expected that Wisdom will use the world’s largest nesting albatross colony, located north-west of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, to raise another chick.
The new arrival complements an impressive brood; researchers estimate that Wisdom has raised as many as 36 chicks in her lifetime. Wisdom was first tagged with a band in 1956. Given that Laysan albatross do not return to breed until they are at least five years old, it’s estimated that Wisdom is 64 years old, although she could be older.
Laysan albatrosses typically lay one egg a year, spending more than 130 days incubating it. The birds, which can have a wingspan of up to 7ft (2 meters), can forage hundreds of miles out to sea for food such as squid. It’s thought Wisdom has notched up around 6m ocean miles of flight.
Dan Clark, manager of the wildlife refuge, said Wisdom had become a “symbol of hope and inspiration” in the face of a precipitous decline in seabirds. An estimated 70% of the creatures have disappeared worldwide since the 1950s.