A Laysan albatross named Wisdom, is at least 60 years old and was spotted in February 2011 raising a chick at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific Islands. Photo by John Klavitter, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Wisdom has recently produced a healthy chick. The oldest bird known to scientists, it is estimated that Wisdom has reared at least 30-35 chicks in her lifetime. Albatrosses are thought to be the longest living among all wild birds. Another albatross, a Northern Royal albatross named Grandma, had reigned for a while as oldest living bird at 61½ years old, but scientists lost track of her a few years back, and she is now presumed dead.
Not only do albatrosses live a long time, they also log an incredible number of miles in the air. Scientists believe an albatross of Wisdom’s age would have flown at least 2-3 million miles in her lifetime — the equivalent of more than 4-6 trips from the earth to the moon and back. Albatrosses are even thought to sleep while flying!