In a bid to achieve an all-time record, the world’s oldest living wildbird hatched her 40th chick last week, at the age of 65.
The oldest living wildbird belongs to the Laysan albatross species and goes under the name “Wisdom.” According to a report issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, she just hatched her 40th chick, which is no small accomplishment, considering the number of years she’s been on this Earth.
The newly born chick, which saw daylight on February 1st, was named Baby Kukini, which in Hawaiian means “messenger.” His father is known simply as “Gooo,” which correlates to the number 6,000 found on his identification band.
Apparently, Baby Kukini was placed in Gooo’s care for a few weeks, until his mother returned from gathering food, such as fish eggs, small fish and squid, which she would later use to feed the chick.
Gooo, however, did not seem to be father-material, because as soon as Wisdom returned to her spot, he quickly flew to more interesting things. Representatives from the United State’s largest conservation area, located in Honolulu, are hopeful that he will return, since newly born chicks require regular feeding and a constant supply of fresh food.
This means it’s quite possible that Kukini’s father was leaving to gather more food and not necessarily out of boredom. When albatrosses decide to mate, they do it for life. However, in Wisdom’s case, she has gone through several relationships, due to the fact that she has outlived all her previous mates. Now she is going steady with Gooo, although researchers cannot tell us his exact age.
The wildbird’s home is the Midway Atoll Refuge and it hosts around one million albatrosses, all busy with nesting and raising their families. It is located on the northern end of the Hawaiian archipelago and it is one of the oldest atoll formations on the planet. It provides a safe habitat for countless seabirds and it once functioned as a Naval Air Facility.
Ever since she arrived at the refuge, Wisdom has been nesting annually. Scientist Chandler Robbins banded Wisdom for the first time in 1956, during a project with the U.S. Geological Survey. Back then, he estimated the bird to be around five years old.
Now Robbins is 97 and he shows similar signs of longevity as the bird he once banded. He continues to assist the USGS in their various ornithological projects.
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