Kauai's native bird loss being surveyed
The state is dispatching biologists into the forested areas of northwestern Kauai this month to survey the populations of rare native forest birds, the Department of Land and Natural Resources announced.
A 2005 survey deep in the Alakai Wilderness Area, as well as recent reports, "suggest that populations of the remaining native forest birds may now be in rapid decline due to a collection of threats that may include loss and degradation of habitat, predation by introduced mammals and disease," DLNR Chairman Peter Young said last week.
Biologists reported a conspicuous absence during these surveys of several species, especially the akekee (Kauai akepa) and akikiki (Kauai creeper) from many areas where they had been seen regularly in recent years, he said.
Biologists will survey the 16-square-mile preserve in Kauai's Waimea district. The DLNR will then collaborate with the U.S. Geological Survey to sample birds for disease, monitor them to determine whether they are breeding successfully and examine causes of mortality.