|Hawaiian Hawk in the Hilo Zoo (2002)|
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Thursday, June 23, 2016
a shipment from Singapore. They are native over a wide swath of southeast Asia. They quickly established populations on all the islands almost to the point a being a nuisance (but most of them have been polite to me!).
|Photo by Mrs. Geotripper|
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Through no fault of their own, European Starlings were introduced in North America, and spread to dominate environments all over the continent. I was surprised to find that the mynas are in the starling family, and so their story in Hawai'i seems all too familiar.
Monday, June 20, 2016
Bird malaria is one of the worst causes, but there are many others. By the 1920s, so few native birds were found in the coastal towns that well-meaning people brought in tropical species to fill the void. Other birds were introduced to help control insect pests in the pervasive sugar cane fields. One can see the point of choosing non-native birds versus no birds, and one can also realize the lack of research that would have warned against introducing new species without understanding the potential negative effects.
In any case, they are on the islands to stay, for better or worse. And they may be filling the environmental niche left behind by the sadly extinct native birds. And if you think about it, the most populous bird on the island could have been something far more obnoxious (I think of European Starlings on the mainland, for instance).
Friday, June 17, 2016
Western Tanager back home in California).
The Saffron Finches are popular cage birds, and that is the probable explanation for their existence in the Hawaiian Islands. They were first noted in the 1960s and were most likely escapees. They are common on the Big Island, and increasing in Oahu as well.
I encountered several of the finches at our first hotel on the day of our arrival, but it wasn't until several days later that we were exploring Lapakahi State Park on the northern coast that we saw one up close. Lapakahi preserves an ancient fishing village. We spied the finch "hiding" in a tree above a burial site ("hiding" is a strong term for such a colorful bird).
Later on we stopped in Kapa'au on the northern tip of the Big Island, and had another finch land nearby the group. I like the color contrast with the red paint on the roof.
Expect a lot more colorful birds in coming weeks. There were a lot of them out there!