MIDWAY ATOLL, Hawaii (KHON2) — There’s a baby albatross chick in the family for mom Wisdom and dad Akeakama.
The new year brought new life for the world’s oldest known banded wild bird.
Wisdom’s newest chick began breaking through its egg on Jan. 29, 2021, and fully hatched Monday, Feb. 1 at Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands at the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
The laysan albatross and her mate Akeakami have been hatching and raising chicks together since at least 2012.
Wisdom, who’s at least 70 years old, has hatched at least 30 to 36 chicks in her lifetime.
“It happened to hatch while Akeakamai was on duty,” said. Dr Beth Flint, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “He protected it until, I don’t know if Wisdom’s come back yet. Both parents will start taking turns protecting the chick from the elements and going out to sea to bring back food that they’ll regurgitate right into the mouth of the chick.”
Albatrosses mate for life but scientists believe Wisdom may have had other mates because she’s outlived her other partners.
These birds don’t typically lay eggs every year, and when they do, they lay only one egg.
Chicks eat a diet rich in fish eggs and squid that are regurgitated by the parents. The fatty acids and nutrients last a chick for a few of days. Chicks fledge, fly for the first time, in the months of June and July.