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Old Monday 20th March 2006, 04:23   #1
Kenbell
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Status of Hawaii's Endangered Birds ??

I visited Hawaii last year, and loved the birds there, unfortunately most of which are either extinct or in terminal decline. Apart from the Hawaii birds / Birdlife websites (a bit outdated), I haven't been able to find any updates on the status on the birds - particularly the Hawaiian Crow, and the O'u.

Does anyone know or can help ?

Thanks,
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Old Monday 20th March 2006, 08:48   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenbell
I visited Hawaii last year, and loved the birds there, unfortunately most of which are either extinct or in terminal decline. Apart from the Hawaii birds / Birdlife websites (a bit outdated), I haven't been able to find any updates on the status on the birds - particularly the Hawaiian Crow, and the O'u.

Does anyone know or can help ?

Thanks,
Ken
The birdlife factsheets is quite often upated and I think they got info about most recent sightings.

The Hawaiian Crow was last recorded in the wild 2002, when there was 2-3 birds left, small numbers do exist in captivity.


'O'u hasent been recorded postivively since 1987, altough there has been a few unconfirmed reports in the 1990s (most since 1995) and it cant be said to be extinct until surveys of the last areas of its previous known occurence has been properly survyed.

But the future seems bleak for the 'O'u, I persoanlly dont think any birds still survives.

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Old Saturday 27th May 2006, 17:25   #3
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Crow, O'u, Kauai

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amazonas_Alex
The birdlife factsheets is quite often upated and I think they got info about most recent sightings.

The Hawaiian Crow was last recorded in the wild 2002, when there was 2-3 birds left, small numbers do exist in captivity.


'O'u hasent been recorded postivively since 1987, altough there has been a few unconfirmed reports in the 1990s (most since 1995) and it cant be said to be extinct until surveys of the last areas of its previous known occurence has been properly survyed.

But the future seems bleak for the 'O'u, I persoanlly dont think any birds still survives.
Hi folks,


I spent 4 months speard over two different field seasons (years) 2002 and 2003.

Hawaiian Crow (Alala) is extinct in the wild. VERY unlikely to ever succeed in wild unless the US FWS decides to train the captive flock to become "french fry eaters".

O'u could be hidden in a remote part of the Big Island or a few birds being missed. Not Likely.

Kauai- DISASTER. The Kokee STate park and te power that be intend to continue to INCREASE the number of FERAL PIGS & introduced DEER so that hunters can be happy. In the meantime, habitat for all the rare and declining species well back into the Alakai are being impacted. ANY HOPE
for these endagered birds depends on a change in this type of Management. FOR SOME obscure reason USFWS is not applying, enforcing or even talking about ENDAGERED SPECIES ACT IN RELATION TO these birds.... They don't really care.

All my Best,

Tim Barksdale
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Old Saturday 27th May 2006, 19:39   #4
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Originally Posted by Hdroadcurlew
ANY HOPE for these endagered birds depends on a change in this type of Management. FOR SOME obscure reason USFWS is not applying, enforcing or even talking about ENDAGERED SPECIES ACT IN RELATION TO these birds.... They don't really care.

All my Best,

Tim Barksdale
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Hi Tim, and welcome to BirdForum.

This is really upsetting to hear that the USFWS is being so care-less in Hawaii. Extinction is forever. What a shame to continue with this attitude.

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Old Saturday 27th May 2006, 22:16   #5
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USFWS has ever had an extremely spotty record. It should be understood, however, that its' principle mandate is not the rational administration of endangered but non-lucrative species, but rather as a facilitator for economic schemes of business-related public land use. Unfortunately, it has been seen that to effect a change of attitude of this and related governmental agencies, there must be a hue and cry starting out locally and continuatively. It is all political. If the local Hawaiian politicians are in the pockets of the local business community, and I am speaking rhetorically here, then the only possibility is that normal interested Hawaiians citizens start to make their voices heard!
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Last edited by cuckooroller : Sunday 28th May 2006 at 12:24. Reason: too dumb to know the difference between principal and principle
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Old Saturday 27th May 2006, 22:39   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cuckooroller
USFWS has ever had an extremely spotty record. It should be understood, however, that its' principal mandate is not the rational administration of endangered but non-lucrative species, but rather as a facilitator for economic schemes of business-related public land use. Unfortunately, it has been seen that to effect a change of attitude of this and related governmental agencies, there must be a hue and cry starting out locally and continuatively. It is all political. If the local Hawaiian politicians are in the pockets of the local business community, and I am speaking rhetorically here, then the only possibility is that normal interested Hawaiians citizens start to make their voices heard!

And birders...

The folks I met in USFWS -- ARE GREAT... but the politics of who is doing what and how it gets done... and are so out ouf touch with the situation I am still stunned. The Biologists who are working on the endangered birds are GREAT people. There seems like something they can't do or an invisible line they can't cross or something...
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Old Sunday 28th May 2006, 10:31   #7
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Tim,
You are right of course, and I should add that I have absolutely no axe to grind with the many dedicated people in USFWS that really do give a damn. Unfortunately, their desires to have any type of real impact are in too many cases fettered by the realities of back-room politicking.
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Old Sunday 28th May 2006, 18:29   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cuckooroller
Tim,
You are right of course, and I should add that I have absolutely no axe to grind with the many dedicated people in USFWS that really do give a damn. Unfortunately, their desires to have any type of real impact are in too many cases fettered by the realities of back-room politicking.

Politicians: Humans who think they know everything and get paid mega $$$$$ for making laws that destroy the natural resources of planet earth so that they can make more $$$$$$.

The world would be better run if "back-room politicking" were out-lawed.

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Old Sunday 16th July 2006, 18:13   #9
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Hunting interests in Hawaii have a lot of power through the magic of good-old-boy politics. The locals here really love their sheep and pig hunting. Except for the nene (goose), and the wekiu bug when politically conveninent, endangered plants and animals have a very low public profile here. Out of sight, out of mind.
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Old Wednesday 19th July 2006, 22:52   #10
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I see the pigs are crapping on wildlife for their own selfish interests again. Not that it surprises me.

All the birds of Hawaii will probably go extinct within the next five minutes.

Speak of the devil, ten species just became extinct in the time it took me to type this.
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Old Thursday 20th July 2006, 11:26   #11
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I've just read an article on the Amakihi and Apapane recolonising the lowland areas on the main island, showing signs of resistance to the avian malaria that used to drive them up into the highlands. At least those two species will make it longer than the next five minutes.
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Old Friday 21st July 2006, 01:49   #12
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Amakihi, apapane and nene are definitely doing better than most of the others. I don't see them in town, though. However, some of the species are lost or will never return to the lower elevations due to permanent (and increasing) habitat loss. Some of the local birds were very specialized feeders. The palila was nearly lost to habitat loss. Its habitat is recovering since the supreme court forced the state to remove sheep from Mauna Kea against the wishes of the hunting interests, but some other sort of disaster could still wipe it out. There are some racial and social conflicts that make the hunting vs. conservation battle a bit more difficult than it has to be.

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Old Thursday 24th August 2006, 01:02   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenbell
I visited Hawaii last year, and loved the birds there, unfortunately most of which are either extinct or in terminal decline. Apart from the Hawaii birds / Birdlife websites (a bit outdated), I haven't been able to find any updates on the status on the birds - particularly the Hawaiian Crow, and the O'u.

Does anyone know or can help ?

Thanks,
Ken
For general purpose information on Hawaii's native forest birds, go to
Birding Hawaii, then click on Hawaii's Birds and then Hawaii's Endemic Forest Birds - Status & Updates. For reintroduction updates, go to the San Diego Zoo Hawaiian Bird blog. There are 53 'Alala (crow) in captivity but they suffer from inbreeding and it's unclear how they will get them to survive in the wild. The O'u is critically endangered - there have been recent reports, but the outlook is poor for sure.

Palila and Puaiohi are recovering well at the moment thanks to reintroduction, but the rest are either hanging on or declining.
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Old Monday 28th August 2006, 23:33   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hdroadcurlew
Kauai- DISASTER. The Kokee STate park and te power that be intend to continue to INCREASE the number of FERAL PIGS & introduced DEER so that hunters can be happy. In the meantime, habitat for all the rare and declining species well back into the Alakai are being impacted. ANY HOPE
for these endagered birds depends on a change in this type of Management. FOR SOME obscure reason USFWS is not applying, enforcing or even talking about ENDAGERED SPECIES ACT IN RELATION TO these birds.... They don't really care.
a few comments and questions...

1) I've only visited Hawai'i twice (1995 & 2004), so my data set is extremely limited, but I would agree with the assessment that Kokee seems to be on a downhill slide. As an example, in 1995, the visitor center area was home to a nene family, while in 2004 it was home to a feral cat family... I wonder how much construction of the trails and boardwalks into the Alakai have contributed to the decline of the endemic birds as it gives rats a superhighway into the heart of the swamp. I saw rats underneath the boardwalk in '04.

2) Are the hunting interests primarily native Hawaiian? As far as I know, this was the case in '95.

3) In '04, I overheard Audobon volunteers discussing the protest that PETA organized in response to a planned/executed(?) rat poisoning scheme.

4) Is the site with the most up-to-date information about Hawaii's birds really UK based? (I recently did some searching on my own and could not find a better site.) That along with the fact that many extinctions have occured (or have been declared) within the last 20 years and without much fanfare says volumes about how much people in the USA care about Hawaii's endemics.

Considering all of these disjoint, random thoughts, is there anything that we (as birders in the USA) or I (Joe Schmoe halfway around the world) can do? We have wildlife management who don't seem to have the power to execute their caring, special interest groups who have opposing goals, and a populace that neither knows nor cares. The situation seems pretty bleak... but more depressing situations have been turned around.

e
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Old Tuesday 29th August 2006, 00:42   #15
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2) Are the hunting interests primarily native Hawaiian? As far as I know, this was the case in '95.
The hunting interests are long-time "locals" for whom hunting is a family tradition, similar to places like Minnesota and Wisconsin where hunting and fishing are very important to people whose families have been established there for a while. Although I'm not sure if many people of primarily asian ancestry are as heavily involved as those of Hawaiian, Portugese or Mexican ancestry, it might risk missing the point to say that they're "primarily native Hawaiian". (?)

One cultural problem that does surround the hunting issues is that the polynesians brought the pigs to Hawaii, so some of the native Hawaiian community are very emotionally attached to the existance of the pigs, and sometimes oppose any control of them whatsoever. Some of them view "outsiders" trying to control the pigs or change hunting as an assault on Hawaiian culture or island traditions. Since the native Hawaiians didn't bring the native birds here, they aren't as concerned about them. People are more motiviated about racial and cultural politics than by birds they've never seen or probably even heard of.

Anyhow, that's how it all seems to somebody who's only been here a couple of years. The TNC people and other conservationists are trying to find ways to appeal to the locals.

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Old Tuesday 29th August 2006, 00:55   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Henry
Considering all of these disjoint, random thoughts, is there anything that we (as birders in the USA) or I (Joe Schmoe halfway around the world) can do? We have wildlife management who don't seem to have the power to execute their caring, special interest groups who have opposing goals, and a populace that neither knows nor cares. The situation seems pretty bleak... but more depressing situations have been turned around.
The Nature Conservancy is putting together some small private forest preserves, where I do volunteer work. One of the goals is future habitat for the Hawaiian crow, if it can ever be taught to survive in the wild again. They might have to try initial reintroductions on another island where there aren't any hawks, though.

I'd love to be able to see an 'o'u before they're gone, but they're probably already gone.

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Old Tuesday 29th August 2006, 12:22   #17
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...it might risk missing the point to say that they're "primarily native Hawaiian". (?)

One cultural problem that does surround the hunting issues is that the polynesians brought the pigs to Hawaii...
sorry, i wasn't clear. The specific reason is the pigs which you discussed in your post. I talked with NP rangers who lamented both the rampant destruction by the pigs and the political issues that prevented killing the pigs even w/in the nat'l park.

In general, there are two types of problems I see with respect to restricting/eliminating hunting by native Hawaiians. The practical type is political and is just that I find it difficult to believe that any level of government will restrict their rights in the 21st century. The other type is ethical/moral in that the native Hawaiians were mistreated so badly for so long that it would be difficult for me to tell them "suck it up and go hunt on the mainland" (whereas I would have no problem telling any other group that.) Of course, I realize that if the hunters are or control the politicians then no one is going to be told to suck anything up.

Good for you for volunteering w/ the Nature Conservancy. They seem to be one of the best conservation organizations (for the way I personally think conservation is best done )
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Old Tuesday 29th August 2006, 21:15   #18
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I don't think complete extermination of the pigs everywhere is necessary or possible, and even talking like that is politically counterproductive, but the level of mistrust is such that proposing any kind of pig population control can generate an amazing amount of emotional opposition. You should hear the crazy rationalizations the hunters etc have to convince themselves that the pigs, sheep, etc are good, and no meddling city-boy mainlander is going to tell them otherwise.

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Old Wednesday 30th August 2006, 10:35   #19
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Good for you for volunteering w/ the Nature Conservancy. They seem to be one of the best conservation organizations (for the way I personally think conservation is best done )
TNC has reserves in South Kona and Ka'u, and I've worked at both a few times now. It's a wonderful way to explore parts of the island few people ever see. They don't let us volunteer enough. :) I'd really like to do some sort of volunteer weekend at their forest reserve on Moloka'i, but don't have much info about it.

I've also been hoping to do a volunteer weekend at nearby Hakalau NWR, but I've always been working the weekends when the Sierra Club has their trips, which seem to be about twice a year.
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Old Wednesday 30th August 2006, 12:37   #20
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I don't think complete extermination of the pigs everywhere is necessary or possible...
I think you are right, and unfortunately, it seems that the environment the pigs like is also the environment that the forest birds like(d). The ideal thing would be to pick an island like Lanai that's been widely developed at one time or another and fill it with pigs and make it The Hunting Isle, but of course, that's not going to happen either.

What's been done successfully in a few places in New Zealand is to create "inland islands" where an area on one of the main islands is protected through a combination of natural barriers, fences and/or poisoning. They're trying to keep out weasels and stoats, so the fencing has to be much tighter than it would be to keep out pigs and deer. It's expensive, of course, and that's where the complacent population comes in. If no one cares that the birds are going extinct, they certainly aren't going to pay to fence off 1000 acres or whatever.

I don't suppose there are any offshore islets that could be sanctuaries for the birds, are there? Does anyone know what, if anything, survives on Ni'ihau?
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Old Wednesday 30th August 2006, 20:44   #21
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I don't suppose there are any offshore islets that could be sanctuaries for the birds, are there? Does anyone know what, if anything, survives on Ni'ihau?
The best sanctuaries for forest birds are the mid-high elevation areas on the larger islands, where the rainforests, high elevation dry forests, and forest reserves already are - as far from human habitation and agriculture as possible. The small islands Lana'i, Kahoolawe and Ni'ihau are very small and dry, don't have rainforest habitats, and could never support much wildlife. Ni'ihau has been a ranch for over a hundred years - I don't think it could have much/any habitat for forest birds. Actually, I haven't ever seen any information about what birds might have ever been there. Nihoa is already a bird sanctuary, with its millerbird. The sandbar islands further up the chain lost most of their native birds by rats and rabbits long ago. :(

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Old Wednesday 30th August 2006, 23:04   #22
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On clear days I can see Maui, Lana'i and Kaho'olawe (and maybe Moloka'i rarely) out my window at work.
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Old Sunday 3rd September 2006, 13:50   #23
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Thanks for the sites - good reading.

At least, there seems to be some hope.....cheers,

Ken
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Old Monday 18th September 2006, 23:48   #24
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I don't suppose there are any offshore islets that could be sanctuaries for the birds, are there? Does anyone know what, if anything, survives on Ni'ihau?
Unfortunately, a major limiting factor for Hawaiian birds is avian malaria spread by tropical mosquitoes. Neither the disease nor the mosquitoes are native to Hawaii, so the native birds have little to no resistance. The mosquitoes are limited in elevation to under 3,500 feet, so the native birds are largely limited to being above 3,500 feet. Only the major islands are high enough to provide refuge above the mosquito zone.
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Old Saturday 23rd September 2006, 08:14   #25
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Here's an interesting 1968 paper on the role of mosquitoes and disease in the extinction of Hawaiian birds, including very interesting historical notes and quotations:

http://www.cooper.org/pdf/p1971Warner1968.pdf

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