An extraordinary ringing recovery has been confirmed as the oldest-known King Eider on record – at some 24 years old.
To add to the remarkable nature of the record, the bird – a drake – was rescued as an adult during an oil spill in Alaska in 1996 and was cared for after this environmental disaster by International Bird Rescue, surviving 23 years after its rehabilitation and release. It was found recently deceased in 2019. The finding proves that rehabilitated, formerly oiled birds can survive many years after treatment and release back to the wild.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and US Geological Survey (USGS) Bird Banding Lab, the previous oldest King Eider was a healthy female that was at least 22 years and one month old when she was recaptured in Nunavut, Canada.