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

denizensofearth
unknown-endangered:

Laysan duck (Anas laysanensis)
Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Anas laysanensis lives only on the Hawaiian island of Laysan, although it was once widespread across the archipelago. It feeds mainly at night on aquatic invertebrates, seeds, and algae. They also run through swarms of brine flies with an open bill to catch them. Breeding usually occurs between April and June, and the female lays four eggs per clutch.
As the population of A. laysanensis is very small, it is under threat from disease and severe weather conditions. An invasive weed species has reduced the availability of breeding habitat, and invasive invertebrates compete with the ducks’ food sources. A parasitic nematode worm (Echinuria uncinata) is also having a negative impact on the population. 
Laysan Island is protected as a National Wildlife Refuge, and A. laysanensis is listed under Appendix I of CITES. Invasive weeds are under control, and a successful translocation of some ducks saw a new insurance population set up on Midway Atoll. Another reintroduction to the island of Kahoolawe has also been proposed. 
Photo: Ken Billington on Wikipedia.

unknown-endangered:

Laysan duck (Anas laysanensis)

Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Anas laysanensis lives only on the Hawaiian island of Laysan, although it was once widespread across the archipelago. It feeds mainly at night on aquatic invertebrates, seeds, and algae. They also run through swarms of brine flies with an open bill to catch them. Breeding usually occurs between April and June, and the female lays four eggs per clutch.

As the population of A. laysanensis is very small, it is under threat from disease and severe weather conditions. An invasive weed species has reduced the availability of breeding habitat, and invasive invertebrates compete with the ducks’ food sources. A parasitic nematode worm (Echinuria uncinata) is also having a negative impact on the population. 

Laysan Island is protected as a National Wildlife Refuge, and A. laysanensis is listed under Appendix I of CITES. Invasive weeds are under control, and a successful translocation of some ducks saw a new insurance population set up on Midway Atoll. Another reintroduction to the island of Kahoolawe has also been proposed. 

Photo: Ken Billington on Wikipedia.

Urchin ID - Maui, HI:
Creature ID please :) Found these little purple things clinging to the rocks on a beach in Maui. Picture was taken November 2013.
Paxon:
This is the Helmit Urchin aka Shingle Urchin (Colobocentrotus atratus), found on wave swept rocky shorelines around the Indo-Pacific. :)
http://echinoblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/holding-on-in-rough-world.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shingle_urchin

Urchin ID - Maui, HI:

Creature ID please :) Found these little purple things clinging to the rocks on a beach in Maui. Picture was taken November 2013.

Paxon:

This is the Helmit Urchin aka Shingle Urchin (Colobocentrotus atratus), found on wave swept rocky shorelines around the Indo-Pacific. :)

http://echinoblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/holding-on-in-rough-world.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shingle_urchin

libutron
libutron:

Pyramid pair - Hawaiian reef | ©Barry Fackler
Hemitaurichthys polylepis (Perciformes - Chaetodontidae).
Common names: Brushytoothed Butterflyfish, Pyramid Butterfly, Pyramid Butterflyfish, Shy Butterflyfish.
This species is widespread in the central and western Pacific from Cocos-Keeling and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean to Pitcairn north to southern Japan and the Hawaiian Islands, south to northern New South Wales and Rapa Iti. It has a depth range of 3-60 m. 
Hemitaurichthys polylepis is a common and widespread species. It is planktivorous and could be affected by climate-induced reductions in planktonic productivity. There do not appear to be any current threats to this species and it is listed as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List.
Source.

libutron:

Pyramid pair - Hawaiian reef | ©Barry Fackler

Hemitaurichthys polylepis (Perciformes - Chaetodontidae).

Common names: Brushytoothed Butterflyfish, Pyramid Butterfly, Pyramid Butterflyfish, Shy Butterflyfish.

This species is widespread in the central and western Pacific from Cocos-Keeling and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean to Pitcairn north to southern Japan and the Hawaiian Islands, south to northern New South Wales and Rapa Iti. It has a depth range of 3-60 m.

Hemitaurichthys polylepis is a common and widespread species. It is planktivorous and could be affected by climate-induced reductions in planktonic productivity. There do not appear to be any current threats to this species and it is listed as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List.

Source.