National Wildlife Refuge System

Wisdom Lays an Egg. Again!

Wisdom, a Laysan albatross about 62 years old, incubates an egg with her mate.
Credit: Pete Leary/USFWS

Wisdom, a Laysan albatross and the world's oldest-known wild bird, must be one of the world's most persistent parents. At age 62 (or more), Wisdom laid a new egg on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in November. She and her mate are taking turns incubating the egg, which should hatch in early February.

Wisdom was first banded by U.S. Geological Survey scientist Chandler Robbins in 1956 as she incubated an egg. Chandler found her again in 2001 and Midway Atoll refuge biologist Pete Leary spotted her this year.

Wisdom has likely raised at least 30 to 35 chicks during her breeding life, though the number may well be higher. “Only one chick has been banded so far, two seasons ago,” according to Leary. “Last year, the chick wandered away and lost its temporary band before we could put on a permanent band. It probably survived, we just didn't know which one it was.”

Albatross lay only one egg a year, but it takes much of a year to incubate and raise the chick.

Last updated: December 28, 2012