Sunday, June 4, 2017

And Here's the Grown-up Shama Thrush at Waimea Valley

The Shama Thrush (Copsychus malabaricus) is native to southeast Asia, but was introduced into the Hawaiian Islands in the 1930s-1940s. It has spread widely through the coastal forests of Oahu and Kauai, and would have competed against the native species, except that the natives had been extirpated by avian malaria and lost habitat. Some of them have in fact spread into the higher altitude forests where they may cause problems for the natives.

Thus it is that I have ambivalent feelings about the non-natives. I deplore the destruction of the original habitat and the loss of so many native species, but I also couldn't wish for the silent forests that led some well-meaning people to release their caged birds as a way of repopulating the coastal forests of Hawai'i. And certainly many of the new birds are colorful and interesting.
We saw this male Shama Thrush while we strolled through Waimea Valley on the North Shore of Oahu (we saw the juvenile and a female in yesterday's post). Like the bird, Waimea Valley is not exactly natural either. It's a botanical garden, filled with plants from all over the world. In an odd way, that makes the presence of the Shama Thrush a little less out of place. In any case, it is a beautiful sight.

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