At 70 years of age an albatross called Wisdom has hatched another chick.
Regarded as “oldest known wild bird in history”, Wisdom has outlived previous mating partners as well as the biologist Chandler Robbins, who first banded her in 1956.
Wisdom hatched the chick in February in the Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge in the North Pacific, where more than a million albatross return to nest each year. Wisdom’s long-term mate, Akeakamai, who she has been with since 2010 according to the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), fathered the chick. The USFWS also stated that albatross find their mates through “dance parties”.
“We believe Wisdom has had other mates,” said US Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Dr Beth Flint. “Though albatross mate for life, they may find new partners if necessary – for example if they outlive their first mate.”
USFWS estimated Wisdom has hatched more than 30 chicks over the course of her lifetime.
The word albatross is sometimes used metaphorically to mean a psychological burden that feels like a curse. It's an allusion to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798), but today they're not being shot by seamen; rather they're 'shooting' illegal fishermen. More...