65-Year-Old Laysan Albatross Mothers Another Chick, Its 40th Chick

Posted: Feb 11 2016, 3:34am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News


Laysan albatross
Photo credit: Kaipo Kiaha/Paliku Productions

An old Laysan albatross believed to be 65 years of age has hatched her 40th chick at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The new chick has been named Kukini – meaning “messenger” in Hawaiian while its mother has been known as “Wisdom” since she was first tagged in 1956.

NPR reports that researchers saw the new chick emerge from its shell on February 1, after Wisdom’s partner took turn to incubate the egg so as to allow her to go search for food – the mate only went for food itself after Wisdom returned.

Wildlife scientists say a Laysan albatross incubates and raises its chick within a 7-month period, and this is about the time they are known to stay on land for breeding purposes. They spend most of their time flying across the ocean year-round, logging hundreds of miles a day and thousands of miles a year. Scientists say these birds are even capable of sleeping in the air.

The birds come to their breeding grounds once a year to try to lay a single egg.

"Wisdom has raised at least eight chicks since 2006, and as many as 40 in her lifetime," the Fish and Wildlife Service said. "Just as astonishing, she has likely flown over 3 million miles since she was first tagged on Midway Atoll in 1956."

And Bruce Peterjohn, chief of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center's National Bird Banding Laboratory noted that "What is also miraculous is that biologist Chandler Robbins, who banded her as a breeding adult in 1956 on Midway Atoll, sighted her 46 years later near the same nesting location."

Now 97 years old, old Robbins occasionally visits the scientific stations to still see the birds after working there for several decades.
Meanwhile, monument staff at the Midway Atoll are holding a contest to determine the actual name of Wisdom’s mate.

"The polls will end soon so cast your vote for one of the top 4 choices of names from over 50 that were suggested or email Ann_Bell@fws.gov your choice from: 1) Ahonui (means patience in Hawaiian), 2) Endurance, 3) Popsicle, or 4) Akeakamai (means yearning for or lover of wisdom)."

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/52" rel="author">Charles I. Omedo</a>
Charles is covering the latest discoveries in science and health as well as new developments in technology. He is the Chief Editor or Intel-News.




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