Albatross equals chick record

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.''


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