Sweden's oldest bird nears 43rd birthday

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Sweden's oldest bird nears 43rd birthday

Birdwatchers have regained contact with a guillemot that had a ring attached one of its legs in July 1965, making it the oldest bird ever recorded in Sweden.


While marine birds live famously long lives, this particular guillemot from the island of Stora Karlsö off the coast of Gotland has surpassed all expectations.

Not only is it the oldest bird ever recorded in Sweden, it has also lived longer than any other known guillemot in the world.

Birdwatcher Jonas Sundberg, himself just 25, described the feeling as he first caught sight of the senior avian citizen.

"It was magnificent to lie on the edge of the cliff and zoom in with my telescope on a guillemot that has lived through eleven Swedish prime ministers and has probably come back to its cliff nest on Stora Karlsö every year since the 1960s," he said.

It is not yet known whether the record-breaking guillemot is a male or a female. It is very difficult to differentiate between the sexes and there were no DNA tests when the bird was marked on July 7th 1965.

"But it's possible to tell who's who when they mate," said Jonas Sundberg.

"We'll see if we can figure out its gender next spring. Now we know what part of the cliff the bird sits on."


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