In 1956, researchers from the US Fish and Wildlife Service banded a Laysan albatross they trapped at Midway Atoll. They estimated that bird #Z333, a female, was about five years old. Since then, the bird has continued to return to the atoll year after year, eventually becoming the world's oldest banded bird, and the world's oldest known albatross. Along the way, Z333 picked up a new name: Wisdom.
Yesterday, the USFWS confirmed that Wisdom—despite now being 63 years old—has laid yet another egg. This will be the mother-to-be's 36th chick, approximately. She and her mate set up their nest near their usual spot, the USFWS reports. Given that Wisdom and her mate have had success rearing a chick the past few times they've tried, the USFWS is hopeful that their efforts this year will be worthwhile, too.
Laysan albatrosses mate for life and spend and entire year raising a single chick. Wisdom and her mate are joined by hundreds of thousands of other albatross pairs who are also nesting on the atoll, which houses up to 70 percent of the world's population of Laysan albatrosses, the USFWS reports.