Friday, December 19, 2014

Tough Old Bird

Speaking of longevity, birds are right up there. Macaws reportedly have a lifespan that ranges from 30-50 years and over. Information from bird bands returned to ornithologists reveals that the two largest species of albatross (Royal and Wandering) may be around for 40 plus years. The albatross may enjoy such a long life because it nests on remote islands, far removed from most predators. Enter one such albatross: Wisdom. This tough old bird reportedly is the oldest known living albatross in the wild—63 years old. I saw a picture of Wisdom in the Hawaiian Airlines on-board flight magazine recently. The accompanying article by Noel Nicholas indicated that this remarkable bird has clocked over three million miles of flight time. Apparently she has hatched 30-35 chicks so far in her lifetime, the most recent in February of 2014. Nichols reported that the staff at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (where Wisdom nests) named the chick Mana’olana: Hawaiian for ‘hope.’ Hmm.

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