Public asked to help keep
endangered birds safe

Urban lights threaten the seabirds
on their way to the ocean

Star-Bulletin staff

Haleakala National Park and the state Department of Land & Natural Resources are asking people to prevent deaths of endangered native seabirds by reporting those that get disoriented by urban lights and ground themselves.

Each October and November, young 'ua'u (Hawaiian dark-rumped petrels) and 'ua'u kani (wedge-tailed shearwaters) leave their nests to fly to ocean feeding grounds.

During their flight to sea, the birds sometimes become disoriented by urban lights and fly in circles until they become tired and fall to the ground. These "grounded" seabirds are often found in areas with bright lights such as hotels, golf courses, stadiums and yards lit by floodlights.

Groundings tend to occur during the increasingly dark nights caused by the new moon, which this fall will be Oct. 6 and Nov. 4. Anyone who finds a grounded bird should:

>> Protect it from hazards such as cars, dogs and cats. Place it in a covered, well-ventilated cardboard box, and keep it in a cool or shaded place. Do not give it food or water. Be careful: It may bite.

>> Call Haleakala National Park at 264-5317 anytime; or state Division of Forestry and Wildlife at 984-8100, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Provide your name, phone number, when and where the bird was found and any other pertinent information. Messages are checked regularly.

Anyone who finds a disoriented bird should not release it, but instead call trained wildlife specialists.

'Ua'u are black and white seabirds with black, webbed feet which measure about 16 inches from beak to tail and have a wingspan of about 3 feet. About 90 percent of the known population nests within Haleakala National Park.

'Ua'u kani are gray and white birds that look similar to the 'ua'u. They measure about 17 inches from beak to tail and have a wingspan of 38 inches.

For more information, contact biologist Raina Kaholoa'a at 572-4493.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Department of Land and Natural Resources
Division of Forestry and Wildlife

E-mail to City Desk


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