Its been quite a year here at KFBRP. We have the entire year’s worth of research, field work, outreach, educational activities, awards, new faces, and much more all summarized in our annual newsletter. You can find the individual articles about our work linked below, or you can view and print the entire newsletter in pdf form by clicking here.
We open with this inspiring tidbit: A black hole was photographed for the first time this year and was given the name Powehi, a Hawaiian phrase roughly translating to “the adorned fathomless dark creation”. One of the baby ʻAkikikis we banded this year received band colors in red and black. It reminded us of the newly photographed black hole, so we decided to lovingly give it the nickname Powehi. Although they have similar colors, Powehi (the bird) is 1041 times smaller than her namesake!
2019 Field Season Recap
We have been busy in the field trapping rats and learning more about mosquito populations in the Alakaʻi. Click here to read what our field crews have been busy with.
The Latest Buzz on Mosquitos
We have learned that climate change is affecting the elevation at which mosquitos can reproduce. Since mosquitos can spread avian malaria, this can have fatal consequences for Kauaʻi’s forest birds. Teya Penniman, Coordinator of Hawaiʻi Landscape-scale Mosquito Control at American Bird Conservancy, tells us more about a promising mosquito abatement tool called the incompatible insect technique in the article linked here.
With over 425 A24 traps deployed in the field, it is important to ensure that traps are killing what they’re supposed to (rodents). We check traps every 4 months to assess performance through corpse counts and the counters mounted on the traps. Often, the counter tallies exceed the number of corpses counted. This mismatch led to corpse study to determine how many corpses were being scavanged at different locations, and our cameras caught the culprits in action. Read more…
Radiotelemetry to Inform Translocation and other Conservation Actions
Through a grant from Holohil, we received 12 LB-2X transmitters to attach to critically endangered ‘Akeke‘e. The goal of this project was to attach as many of the transmitters as possible to these elusive and cryptic birds to better understand their ecology with the long-term goal of facilitating a successful translocation to another island with higher elevation than Kaua‘i. Read more…
An Update on Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death
Kim Rodgers, Kauaʻi ROD Outreach Specialist, gives us an update on Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death and how to prevent it’s spread.
LiDAR in the Alakaʻi Swamp
The high-resolution LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data that we acquired in 2017 for the Alakaʻi Swamp has finally come to fruition in the form of predictive modeling. We have analyzed this data to identify forest structure and topography metrics associated with ʻAkikiki and ʻAkekeʻe nest locations to predict their distribution in unsurveyed areas. Read more…
This year was a big year for recognition of KFBRP staff and partners and the work we do to protect Kauaʻi’s forest birds. Click here to learn more about all of our awards.
The Symphony of the Hawaiian Birds is coming to Kaua’i
We are super excited to announce the first performance of the Symphony of the Hawaiian Birds on Kaua‘i in February 2020! Click here for more information and to see how you can register your school for the free performances.
We have some new staff at KFBRP. Kim Shobak comes to us from Rutgers University.
Consider Donating your Time
You might have noticed that KFBRP stayed very busy with community events and outreach throughout this year! We would like to extend a big Mahalo to all of you for helping us spread the word, educating both local communities and global entities about the importance of saving our critically endangered native Hawaiian forest birds. We are thankful for all the continued community support, over the year, we received generous donations among others from the Rotary Club of Poʻipu, the Hawaii Visitor Industry Foundation, the County of Kaua’i Office of Economic Development, the Honolulu Zoological Society, the Center for Biological Diversity and many individual donors. We really couldn’t do it without all of you!
We received another beautiful water color art work donation from Deidre Husak showing the beautiful ʻApapane and a wonderful poem by local resident Kapua Janai! Please continue to show us your love of our forest birds with your artwork, we appreciate it very much!
Festivals and fundraisers continue to be one of our favorite ways to interact with the public on Kauaʻi and generate support for our project. This year we attended Emalani Festival, Arbor Day, Banana Poka Festival, Holly Jolly Holiday Fair, Earth Day at KCC and May Day Concert. Be sure to look for us at these events in the next year!
Thank you to everybody who supported us this year through our Bonfire t-shirt store! All our official t-shirts are now available year-round on demand at our Bonfire Store. We are currently working on a few new t-shirt designs, stay tuned!
In 2020, we will focus on catching and banding more birds than we have in previous years. Through this effort, we hope to get a better understanding of survivorship rates, malaria rates, and much more! We plan to raise money to buy more telemetry tags so we can track more birds. Since rats are an ongoing threat to Kaua‘i’s native forest birds, we will continue to use A24 traps to reduce predation by rats in the bird’s remaining habitat and may implement some modifications to make the traps more efficient. In the summer and fall (peak mosquito season), we plan to continuously run mosquito traps at multiple sites across the Plateau to better understand Culex mosquito life cycle across the remaining forest bird range. We look forward to focusing on the ‘Akeke‘e and working to better understand their behavior and movements to ultimately increase their population sizes.
A Thank You Letter
Finally, we received a moving letter of thanks from one of our helicopter pilots.
On that note, we leave you with this poem by Kapua Janai.