At 68, she is an inspiration to mothers everywhere.
Wisdom the the Laysan albatross, the world’s oldest known breeding bird, has laid another egg.
Almost every year for the past six decades, Wisdom has laid an egg on Midway Atoll, an island in the Hawaiian archipelago.
Now, staff at Midway have confirmed she has done it again.
‘She first appeared back at her traditional nest site on November 29 and biologists on Midway have confirmed that she has laid an egg,’ the reserve said.
‘Midway Atoll’s habitat doesn’t just contain millions of birds, it contains countless generations and families of albatrosses’ said Kelly Goodale, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Refuge Biologist.
‘If you can imagine when Wisdom returns home she is likely surrounded by what were once her chicks and potentially their chicks. What a family reunion!’
It takes nearly seven months to incubate the egg and raise a chick to fledge – when young birds develop wing feather’s that are large enough for flight.
During that time, Wisdom and Akeakamai, like all albatross parents, take turns incubating the egg or caring for the chick, while the other partner forages for food at sea.
Albatross and other seabirds show high nest fidelity behaviors – which means they return to the same nesting site each year.
They start to return from sea to breed in late October, and by the end of November almost every available nesting space on the atoll is claimed by a breeding pair.
Wisdom spends 90% of her life at sea where she soars over the ocean for days on end and rests on the waves to feed on squid and fish eggs.
Like all albatross, she returns nearly every year to the place she was born.
Layan albatrosses are monogamous animals, laying usually just one egg every other year – which is why Wisdom’s fertility and pattern of laying an egg almost every year is so remarkable.
Wisdom was first banded as an adult in 1956, and although she is at least 68 years old, she is still laying eggs and raising chicks.
Wisdom was tagged by scientists in 1956 when she was about five years old.
Since then, she’s given birth to about 41 chicks and has flown more than 3 million miles.
Experts at the US Fish and Wildlife Service claim Wisdom is the oldest bird they know of in the organisation’s 90-year history.
The refuge is home to the world’s largest colony of albatross – where nearly 70 per cent of the world’s Laysan albatross and almost 40 per cent of Black-footed albatross live.
Refuge manager Dan Clark said: ‘She provides to the world valuable information about the longevity of these beautiful creatures.
‘In the case of Wisdom, she has logged literally millions of miles over the Pacific Ocean in her lifetime to find enough fish eggs and squid to feed herself and multiple chicks, allowing us the opportunity to measure the health of our oceans which sustain albatross as well as ourselves.’
Laysan albatrosses breed on the Hawaiian islands of Oahu, at Kaena Point, and on Kauai, at Kilauea Point.
About 99.7 per cent of the bird’s population of 2.5 million live in the northwestern Hawaiian islands.
Their feeding grounds are off the west coast of North America, including the Gulf of Alaska, and they spend their first three to five years constantly flying, never touching land.
Scientists believe they even sleep while flying over the ocean.