Old birds

The bird bands you placed on birds last season may be informing science long after you retire, a series of recent stories suggests.

A Laysan albatross named Wisdom is the oldest bird in the United States, and in North America, according to a US Geological Survey press release. The bird is at least 60 years old. It was banded while sitting on an egg in 1956, and was at that time estimated to be five years old. The bird was recently spotted at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. It has been spotted there several times in the last few years.

There’s already lots of press on this, such as this article in USA Today.

In late February, a bald eagle electrocuted on a power line in Alaska was found to be the second-oldest bald eagle in the state, and one of the oldest bald eagles in the country. The bird was 25 years old, according to its leg band. The story ran in the Anchorage Daily News.

And rounding out the tales of old birds and old bands, back in December The New York Times wrote about a red-tailed hawk in New York State that was 27 years old.

Photo: John Klavitter , U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

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