World’s Oldest Wild Bird Stumps Scientists By Giving Birth at Age 62

The world’s oldest known living wild bird just happens to be a new mother at the ripe age of 62. Maybe age ain’t nothing but a number after all.

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Pete Leary/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Wisdom, left, attempts to nudge her mate off the nest for her turn at incubating the couple's egg.

The oldest-known wild bird in the world is a new mother again, proving once and for all that age is just a number.

The aptly-named Wisdom, a Laysan albatross, has given birth to a chick at the age of 62. On February 3, on the Midway Islands between North America and Asia, in the middle of nowhere in the Pacific Ocean, Wisdom birthed a healthy chick in spite of her age.

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It’s not just the age at which she’s given birth that’s confounding scientists. Laysan albatross usually don’t even live half as long as Wisdom.

Scientists estimate that she’s hatched up to approximately 35 birds during her life — and one a year for the past six years, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – during an age when most humans would be cashing in their senior citizen discounts.

The common assumption amongst scientists is that the albatross often becomes infertile late in life, though it’s not clear when exactly that happens. Due to the difficulty of studying the species, Wisdom is helping to impart new fowl insight to scientists — but mostly, she’s simply continuing to stun them. Bruce Peterjohn, the chief of the Bird Banding Laboratory at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md. explained his team’s stunned reactions in a news release:

If she were human, she would be eligible for Medicare in a couple years yet she is still regularly raising young and annually circumnavigating the Pacific Ocean. Simply incredible.

Indeed, Wisdom shows no signs of slowing. The Midway Atoll is located far from the mainland, roughly equidistant between Tokyo and San Francisco. This means Wisdom logs some serious skymiles each year in order to lay her egg. Scientists estimate she flies up to 50,000 miles a year. Not bad for being at a ripe old age.

MOREThe Oldest Wild U.S. Bird: Still Alive and Kicking, and a New Mom, at 60

71 comments
Bombastus
Bombastus

Headline should read: "World’s Oldest Wild Bird Stumps Scientists By Laying an Egg at Age 62" It would be amazing if the bird actually gave birth at any age. Congratulations to the happy couple. 

GeorgeKaplan
GeorgeKaplan

She looks pretty good for her age. I'd do her.

raningreen
raningreen

This is a great story, and quite interesting that she is still able to lay fertile eggs. I take exception to her 'giving birth to a chick'.  C'mon. Birds lay eggs. Let's not 'simplify' this to the point of being inaccurate.

paulrday55
paulrday55

Birds don't "give birth"!!  That would make it truly newsworthy...

texasghost01
texasghost01

So...a bird survived the horrible 50's and 60's?

PatrishDehler
PatrishDehler

Please read carefully - it says the  oldest-known wild bird.  So there may be older birds out there, but our scientists just don't know about them.  Wisdom" was banded by a U.S. Geological Survey researcher in 1956, so they know it's the same bird for you that have doubts.  As a senior, all I can say 'better you than me, and 'way to go gal'.  :)

RonPeacock
RonPeacock

World's oldest bird at 62?  I thought some birds, e.g. parrots and others, lived to maybe a hundred or so.  Guess I was wrong.

PavBel
PavBel

“@TIME: World's oldest bird gives birth at 62 | http://t.co/JdTHi91x (via@TIMENewsFeed)” How the hell is this news?

HollySmith
HollySmith

Really people? Are you seriously asking how do they know how old the bird is? I am surprised you didn't ask how do they know that it is the same bird. Oh wait now I got you idiots thinking that question! Just maybe scientists have been following that bird since it was born!!!!!! Oh yea for the question I put in your head the bird is probably marked.

fringbird
fringbird

@TIME Would someone please post the pilot's license of the bird so I can verify her age? Unless she has a driving license, also! Hmmmm

m_mawienarik
m_mawienarik

@TIME at 62 yrs and giving birth, not a previldge for female homosapiens

NYWELSH
NYWELSH

@TIME how do know it s the oldest bird ?? I know a few older

eggie1248
eggie1248

“@TIME: World's oldest bird gives birth at 62 | http://t.co/pA7nR8yj (via@TIMENewsFeed)” pati old bird naunahan pa ko manganak

simplyhowitis
simplyhowitis

@TIME @TIMENewsFeed how do they know that's the oldest bird?

Bhaskar_Bharati
Bhaskar_Bharati

@TIME if n d tiwari can in 80+ why not bird at 62, age is merely a number,think n live with +ve energy

Stlouiscanadian
Stlouiscanadian

@TIME think you laid an egg with this tweet. Birds giving birth.... My horse laid an egg!

kendell3820
kendell3820

@TIME read 'bird' as woman. That's all we need more old chicks hatching babies. Happy it's a feathery friend.

iammanishpandey
iammanishpandey

लो अब इस बुढीया से लोग बाँझपन के इलाज की उमीद लगाएँगे !! हद हैं !“@TIME: World's oldest bird gives birth at 62 | http://t.co/X4aPm0P9

nduhiumutitu
nduhiumutitu

@TIME in my country kenya we have century old birds.but oops they are still laying eggs non of them have given birth yet

eetom
eetom

Age is just a number?  Tell that to my doctors and say that again beside my coffin when I die!  When I die I guess someone will just comment, "Death is just a respite!"

karen.carver
karen.carver

Not a word about how they know for certain this bird is 62?

basketworkeri
basketworkeri

@Yano_Akiko その卵から、ゆめのひよこが産まれるんですよね、きっと。

ao_midoriiro
ao_midoriiro

@Yano_Akiko すごいですね、うちの庭にくる野鳥は何歳だろ… おはようございます(^-^)/13日 晴れそうな曇り空です Happy♪(*^-^)ノ”ⅲ Birthday おめでとうございます♫

pietaclose
pietaclose

@Yano_Akiko 卵で産むほうが楽そう。ストン、という感じ。

walstir
walstir

"Wisdom, a Laysan albatross, has given birth to a chick at the age of 62."

This is remarkable - I always thought that birds produced eggs that eventually hatched into chicks.