Wisdom, the oldest known bird in the wild, hatches her 40th chick at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in Hawaii. The nesting colony, which is part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, witnessed how the formidable Laysan albatross took another shot at motherhood.
The Arrival Of Wisdom's 40th Chick
Wisdom's mate was in charge of incubation duties until Jan. 20 as Wisdom search for food. The mates exchanged places on the said date, when Wisdom returned from the sea with a full belly.
On Feb. 1, Wisdom's new chick started showing signs of coming out. After a few more days, the chick came out and was named Kūkini, which literally means "messenger" in Hawaii.
"Wisdom is an iconic symbol of inspiration and hope," says refuge manager Robert Peyton. He adds that Wisdom is breaking records in terms of longevity, surpassing previously banded birds by at least 10 years.
Wisdom is said to have raised about 40 chicks throughout its life, with at least eight since 2006.
Wisdom is not only known for its hatching prowess. The 65-year-old bird is an avid and strong traveler too. Experts say Wisdom has likely flown over 3 million miles since 1956 when it first joined Midway Atoll.
Bruce Peterjohn from Patuxent Wildlife Research Center estimates that such mileage equates to about six trips from the Earth to the moon and back.
Biologist Chandler Robbins was the one who banded Wisdom back in 1956. Robbins still goes to work occasionally for the love of doing his passion. The interesting thing is he was able to see Wisdom near the same nesting area 46 years later.
Peyton goes to explain that albatrosses are vital indicators for the world's oceans, which also sustain human life. Midway Atoll houses more than a million albatrosses, which indicates how much is left to know about nature.
In November 2015, hundreds of thousands of species arrived at the Midway Atoll. The following month, volunteers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were able to count approximately 470,000 active nests across the atoll.
Each nest represents two adult birds thus, the total estimated population of the birds was 940,000. Such number does not include those that are non-breeders in other colonies and are active in looking for and dancing with mates.