How do you find an ‘Akeke’e nest among all the trees in the Alaka’i? It’s no easy task especially since it is estimated that there are less than 1000 individuals left in the wild. BUT, this is what the Kauai Forest Bird Project is faced with in their efforts to save the species.
Thanks to grant from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the USFWS State Wildlife Grants program, KFBRP was able to use telemetry to help find, tag, and then track some of these birds. Here’s how it is going:
So far, three female ‘Akeke’e, two male ‘Akeke’e, and one male ‘Akikiki have been tagged. Two of the females and the ‘Akikiki were tagged early in the season, but following the females has been tough. One disappeared out of range within two days, and the other after a week. However, it was subsequently located via helicopter and then located every few days thereafter. The ‘Akikiki was easy to follow because it had a nest. This bird was used as a test of range, which was found to be about 200m.
The KFBRP field crew had to take a break due to cold rainy weather, so the the last three tags have just gone out in the last couple of weeks. A nest for one of the females was found, and it then it fledged. KFBRP has been able to keep track of her and her fledglings’ movements for a couple of weeks now. They moved several hundred meters away but are now coming back to the area she had nested in, so we are hoping she will renest. The two males have been moving around a lot and are sometimes together, but most often a few hundred meters apart. No signs of nests for them yet. KFBRP plans to do some more banding and tagging next week.