The results of the albatross reproductive success studies are in at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in Hawai’i!  Between 2002 -2013 (except for 2010, for which data was not available) reproductive success in Midway Atoll plots averaged 64.9% for Laysan albatross, and 65.0% for black-footed albatross. The numbers for the winter of 2013-2014 were higher than average for Laysan (70.8%) and lower than average for black-footed (57.9%). Located on the far northern end of the Hawaiian archipelago, Midway Atoll is within the country’s largest conservation area, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. It is one the oldest atoll formations in the world and thanks to Service recovery efforts today, Midway Atoll provides nesting habitat for millions of seabirds: http://1.usa.gov/1p1UbuG.Photograph: Laysan albatross and chick, courtesy of the Friends of Midway Atoll NWR
(via: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

The results of the albatross reproductive success studies are in at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in Hawai’i!

Between 2002 -2013 (except for 2010, for which data was not available) reproductive success in Midway Atoll plots averaged 64.9% for Laysan albatross, and 65.0% for black-footed albatross. The numbers for the winter of 2013-2014 were higher than average for Laysan (70.8%) and lower than average for black-footed (57.9%).

Located on the far northern end of the Hawaiian archipelago, Midway Atoll is within the country’s largest conservation area, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. It is one the oldest atoll formations in the world and thanks to Service recovery efforts today, Midway Atoll provides nesting habitat for millions of seabirds: http://1.usa.gov/1p1UbuG.

Photograph: Laysan albatross and chick,
courtesy of the Friends of Midway Atoll NWR

(via: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

A giant, 100-foot-diameter (30 meters) telescope has been green-lighted for construction on the island of Hawaii.

When it begins operations, TMT will enable astronomers to explore objects inside the solar system, stars throughout the Milky Way and neighboring galaxies, and forming galaxies at the farthest edge of the observable universe…

Albatross Internet Darling Takes First Flight

The world watches as a Laysan albatross chick grows up and takes to the sky.

by Katie Langin

On Tuesday a young Laysan albatross named Kaloakulua took to the skies on her maiden flight, plunging off a cliff 250 feet high (76 meters) and setting course for the open ocean. She won’t touch down on land again for another three years.

And so ends the first chapter of the first ever live-streaming wildlife camera aimed at an albatross nest.

The camera was installed on the north shore of the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i on January 27—the day Kaloakulua emerged from her egg—by biologists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Since then, volunteers from the Kaua’i Albatross Network have manned the controls, panning and zooming the high-definition camera to capture the comings and goings of albatross at the nest site…

(read more: National Geographic)

photos by Bob Osterlund

ʻIʻiwi at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge - HI
The ‘i’iwi is one of the Hawaiian honeycreeper species. This bird evolved in the forests of Hawai’i, including Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, and is found nowhere else in the world.  The i’iwi is a beautiful bird whose long, down curved, orange bill is specialized for sipping nectar from tubular flowers. With its brilliant scarlet body plumage and black wings and tail, the i’iwi can be found in the forest canopy where ‘ōhi‘a lehua blossoms are plentiful. As the i’iwi moves from flower to flower, it pollinates the plants. Its “squeaky hinge” call can be heard throughout the forest when the birds are present. Photo: Megan Nagel/USFWS
(via: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

ʻIʻiwi at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge - HI

The ‘i’iwi is one of the Hawaiian honeycreeper species. This bird evolved in the forests of Hawai’i, including Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, and is found nowhere else in the world.

The i’iwi is a beautiful bird whose long, down curved, orange bill is specialized for sipping nectar from tubular flowers. With its brilliant scarlet body plumage and black wings and tail, the i’iwi can be found in the forest canopy where ‘ōhi‘a lehua blossoms are plentiful. As the i’iwi moves from flower to flower, it pollinates the plants. Its “squeaky hinge” call can be heard throughout the forest when the birds are present.

Photo: Megan Nagel/USFWS

(via: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Hawaiian Monk Seals
The Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi) is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world. They are endemic to Hawaii, meaning they are native and are not found anywhere else in the world. Its Hawaiian name is ‘Ilio‐holo‐i‐ka‐uaua (pronounced ee‐lee‐o holo ee ka ooa‐ooa). Most Hawaiian monk seals can be found around the Northwest Hawaiian Islands in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The Service manages many remote islands as refuges to protect their habitat: (USFWS - Monk Seals). Monk seals spend most of their time in the ocean but like to rest on sandy beaches. Give seals space if you see them on the beach or in the water – stay at least 150 ft. away or stay behind any signs or ropes. The Hawaiian monk seal recovery efforts are overseen by the NOAA Fisheries Service, in cooperation with other government and private organizations and universities. 
Follow recovery efforts from the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program: http://1.usa.gov/1jsrusM. Photo: James Watt/ (NOAA)

Hawaiian Monk Seals

The Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi) is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world. They are endemic to Hawaii, meaning they are native and are not found anywhere else in the world. Its Hawaiian name is ‘Ilio‐holo‐i‐ka‐uaua (pronounced ee‐lee‐o holo ee ka ooa‐ooa).

Most Hawaiian monk seals can be found around the Northwest Hawaiian Islands in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The Service manages many remote islands as refuges to protect their habitat: (USFWS - Monk Seals). Monk seals spend most of their time in the ocean but like to rest on sandy beaches. Give seals space if you see them on the beach or in the water – stay at least 150 ft. away or stay behind any signs or ropes.

The Hawaiian monk seal recovery efforts are overseen by the NOAA Fisheries Service, in cooperation with other government and private organizations and universities.

Follow recovery efforts from the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program: http://1.usa.gov/1jsrusM.

Photo: James Watt/ (NOAA)

Isla Santa Clara: Restoring Habitat for Pink-footed Shearwater

by Holly Freifeld

With funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and others, the American Bird Conservancy has been working with others since 2009 on a variety of conservation projects for this globally threatened seabird, which nests only on Santa Clara and two other Chilean islands: Robinson Crusoe, just across the channel, and Mocha, a coastal island some 400 miles to the southeast.

Here on Santa Clara, the shearwaters nest in two or three well-defined colonies as well as in burrows scattered thinly around the island. Our job on this trip was to select and mark a subset of burrows in two colonies for monitoring through the breeding season…

(read more: American Bird Conservancy)

photos: Holly Freifeld and Peter Hodum

Threatened Seabirds Get Some Much Needed Protection
The American Bird Conservancy is proud to be one of the key partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that will install the first predator-proof fence on Kauai, similar to the one at Kaena Point on Oahu, Hawaii. Once in place, the fenced enclosure will serve as the home of a new population of the threatened Newell’s Shearwater (Puffinus newelli). 
Photo credit: Brenda Zaun, USFWS read more here: TheGardenIsland

Threatened Seabirds Get Some Much Needed Protection

The American Bird Conservancy is proud to be one of the key partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that will install the first predator-proof fence on Kauai, similar to the one at Kaena Point on Oahu, Hawaii. Once in place, the fenced enclosure will serve as the home of a new population of the threatened Newell’s Shearwater (Puffinus newelli).

Photo credit: Brenda Zaun, USFWS

read more here: TheGardenIsland

A New Day for the Nēnē
Once lost, now found: the Hawaiian goose is rediscovered on Oahu.
by Purbita Saha
After being absent for nearly 300 years, Hawaii’s state bird the nene goose has finally come home to roost in Oahu.

The Associated Press was the first to break the news of this development. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a family of nene geese has taken up residence at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge. The parents arrived on their own, before settling in and hatching three chicks. Fish and Wildlife says that human intervention was not a factor in bringing the endemic birds back to the island.
The nene goose was once omnipresent in Hawaii; scientists estimate that the population numbered 25,000 in 1778. But as the islands became colonized, the geese began to disappear. Currently, only 2,000 nenes remain in the wild. The birds can be found in small numbers on Kauai, Maui, and Molokai, though they’ve had the most success at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where they were reintroduced in the ’70s. That effort presented a variety of challenges. There were mass casualties of geese and goslings due to feral cats, mongoose, cars, and even stray golf balls…
(read more: Audubon Magazine)
photograph by Brenda Zaun/USFWS/Flickr

A New Day for the Nēnē

Once lost, now found: the Hawaiian goose is rediscovered on Oahu.

by Purbita Saha

After being absent for nearly 300 years, Hawaii’s state bird the nene goose has finally come home to roost in Oahu.

The Associated Press was the first to break the news of this development. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a family of nene geese has taken up residence at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge. The parents arrived on their own, before settling in and hatching three chicks. Fish and Wildlife says that human intervention was not a factor in bringing the endemic birds back to the island.

The nene goose was once omnipresent in Hawaii; scientists estimate that the population numbered 25,000 in 1778. But as the islands became colonized, the geese began to disappear. Currently, only 2,000 nenes remain in the wild. The birds can be found in small numbers on Kauai, Maui, and Molokai, though they’ve had the most success at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where they were reintroduced in the ’70s. That effort presented a variety of challenges. There were mass casualties of geese and goslings due to feral cats, mongoose, cars, and even stray golf balls…

(read more: Audubon Magazine)

photograph by Brenda Zaun/USFWS/Flickr

Fighting Weeds to Save Seabirds

Albatrosses are reclaiming nesting areas on Midway Atoll Refuge as a plant pest yields to assault by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

For the first time in years, choking mats of an invasive plant pest are receding from Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, opening critically needed nesting space for rare seabirds like the albatross. As cornstalk-high stands of Verbesina encelioides, or golden crownbeard, yield to an assault by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hope for the birds is rising.

More seabirds nest and more chicks survive in Midway’s native grass than in non-native Verbesina, finds the Service, which is conducting the Verbesina eradication with a $1 million National Wildlife Refuge System grant and matching funds from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Laysan and black-footed albatrosses nested at near-record levels in 2012-2013 at Midway Atoll in the Pacific, though biologists will need three or more years to know if the rise is due to Verbesina control. Another potentially promising sign: the January hatching of a short-tailed albatross chick, one of the world’s most endangered seabirds. The hatching was only the third in recorded history outside of three small islands near Japan; the earlier hatchings also occurred on Midway after plant control efforts began.

In addition to the three albatross species, the endangered Laysan duck and 18 other seabird species are expected to benefit from Verbesina’s removal…

(read more: USFWS - National Wildlife Refuge System)

Photos: Albatross in a verbesina-free area. (John Klavitter/USFWS). Next photos: Before and after.

astronomy-to-zoology

astronomy-to-zoology:

'Apapane (Himatione sanguinea)

…a species of Hawaiian Honeycreeper (Carduelinae) that is endemic to Hawaii, specifically the islands of Hawaiʻi, Maui, Lānaʻi, Kauaʻi, Molokaʻi and Oʻahu. ‘Apapane typically inhabit mesic an wet forests which are dominated by koa (Acacia koa) and ʻōhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha). They typically form small flocks and will forage through the canopies of M. polymorpha feeding on the nectar from their flowers. Like other birds they will supplement this diet with a variety of insects as well. 

Classification

Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Passeriformes-Fringillidae-Carduelinae-Drepanidini-Himatione-H. sanguinea

Images: Footwarrior and Caleb Slemmons

Bringing the Millerbird Back to Laysan Island
A project to reintroduce these little brown birds helps protect them from extinction.
by Emma Bryce
In 2011 a rescue mission more than 30 years in the making began to unfold in the Pacific Islands. Scientists were embarking on an expedition to reintroduce the Millerbird to a northwest Hawaiian atoll called Laysan Island. The nondescript little brown bird was last seen there in 1923, after having its habitat destroyed by introduced rabbits and livestock.
The biologists planned to capture birds from a nearby rocky outcrop called Nihoa Island—the Millers’ last stronghold—and transport them nearly 650 miles by boat to Laysan’s shore. The stakes were high: There were only about 800 Millers left, and moving even a small number of them seemed risky. But it was worth it, they decided.
"We believed that if the birds survived the trip, they would flourish," says Sheldon Plentovich, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restoration ecologist, who planned the translocation.
The expedition made the three-day voyage twice, carrying a total of 50 birds, which appeared “unflappable,” says Plentovich. “Even in the boat, they were eating the whole time.” In the end, they all survived, and Laysan now supports more than 125 individuals…
(read more: Smithsonian Magazine)
illustration by John Gerard Keulemans

Bringing the Millerbird Back to Laysan Island

A project to reintroduce these little brown birds helps protect them from extinction.

by Emma Bryce

In 2011 a rescue mission more than 30 years in the making began to unfold in the Pacific Islands. Scientists were embarking on an expedition to reintroduce the Millerbird to a northwest Hawaiian atoll called Laysan Island. The nondescript little brown bird was last seen there in 1923, after having its habitat destroyed by introduced rabbits and livestock.

The biologists planned to capture birds from a nearby rocky outcrop called Nihoa Island—the Millers’ last stronghold—and transport them nearly 650 miles by boat to Laysan’s shore. The stakes were high: There were only about 800 Millers left, and moving even a small number of them seemed risky. But it was worth it, they decided.

"We believed that if the birds survived the trip, they would flourish," says Sheldon Plentovich, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restoration ecologist, who planned the translocation.

The expedition made the three-day voyage twice, carrying a total of 50 birds, which appeared “unflappable,” says Plentovich. “Even in the boat, they were eating the whole time.” In the end, they all survived, and Laysan now supports more than 125 individuals…

(read more: Smithsonian Magazine)

illustration by John Gerard Keulemans