An albatross named Wisdom has equalled Taiaroa Head's
northern royal albatross Grandma's record of being the oldest
of the large seabirds known to have produced a chick.
Wisdom, which nested in the Midway Atoll National Wildlife
Refuge in the Hawaiian Islands, has recently produced a chick
at the age of 62, which a scientist, on The Washington Post
website, claimed ''edged out'' Grandma's record.
''It blows us away that this is a 62-year-old bird and she
keeps laying eggs and raising chicks,'' Patuxent Wildlife
Research Centre bird banding laboratory chief Bruce Peterjohn
said on the website.
Department of Conservation biodiversity assets manager David
Agnew said Wisdom, which was tagged in 1956, had not beaten
Grandma as the Americans thought.
''She has just equalled Grandma this year.''
Grandma was believed to have been 62 when she last produced a
chick, known as Button, which went on to produce the head's
500th chick Toroa.
However, some mystery surrounded Grandma's age as she was not
banded as a chick.
When she was first banded in the summer of 1937-38, she had
already bred and was judged to be 10 years old.
For the next 52 years, she was tracked and she returned to
Taiaroa Head to breed every second year. She was last seen on
the head in 1989.
''So we will never be sure - she may be younger or older.''