COURTESY © KATHY TACHIBANA / NATURE CONSERVANCY
A wedge-tailed shearwater nestles inside of a dugout nest at Moomomi Beach on Molokai, a preserve for the species.
Imperiled birds rally
Wedge-tailed shearwaters have made a comeback at a predator-free refuge on Molokai, the Nature Conservancy reports.
Officials with the conservation group have counted 307 active nests at the Moomomi sand dune preserve, up from three nests in 1999 and 17 in 2000.
"They're definitely increasing, no doubt about it," Ed Misaki, director of the conservancy's Molokai program, said in a news release.
Wedge-tailed shearwaters, "uau kani" in Hawaiian, are large, brown migratory birds that live at sea and come to shore only to breed. They nest in shallow burrows, leaving them vulnerable to predators such as rats, cats and mongooses.
State wildlife biologist Fern Duvall credits their rebounding population to efforts to keep out predators and clearing brush.
Misaki said the growth of the bird population suggests new adults are attracted to the haven that Moomomi now provides.