Endangered birds to take flight in native environment

Robby Kohley
Robby Kohley
Pauline Roberts
Pauline Roberts

By Howard Dashefsky - bio | email

KONA (KHNL) - Some endangered birds will soon be taking flight once again in their native environment and they will do so thanks in part to another flight.

It is a special delivery of rare and precious cargo. A dozen endangered puaiohi birds, prepare to make the journey from the Big Island, to the Alakai Wilderness Preserve on the island of Kauai.

"These birds need our help because the only place they live in the Alakai and with the augmentation from these captive birds it allows the population to grow faster than it would normally," said wildlife specialist Robby Kohley.

The birds also known as small Kauai thrush, were raised by hand at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center at Volcano on the island of Hawaii. Their numbers in the wild got down to as low as 250 birds. That number is now back up over 500 thanks to the human intervention.

"All the Puaiohi that were releasing were all hatched this year so it's the payoff when we get to transfer them to the Alakai, added Kohley.

Traveling in padded and mosquito proof cages, the birds all enjoy their very own seats for the flight to Kauai. Once on the Garden Island, the tiny birds are back packed in until the hikers reach the designated release area.

"We're hoping the birds we release into the wild today will join the wild population Puaiohi and repoduce," said wildlife specialist Pauline Roberts.

And while nature will ultimately dictate how well that process will go down, people will still do their part by caring for the surrounding habitat.

"Part of my job is to do research and figure out what management actions we can take to help the species so that our children and people that come to visit Kauai can enjoy seeing them when they come here," added Roberts.