Oahu likely just a layover for first nene since 1700s

Oahu likely just a layover for first nene since 1700s
Published: Mar. 27, 2014 at 1:55 PM HST
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KAHUKU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii's state bird is expanding.

Endangered nene are on Oahu for the first time in centuries.

The adults, known as K-59 and K-60 were identified by the tags they wear.   The 'K' tells biologists they are originally from Kauai.  They were relocated to the Big Island.  These two were probably flying home for the mating season when they made a stop on Oahu.

"To have them show up here, is so exciting," says Annie Marshall, a biologist with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

K-59 and K-60 were first spotted at the Mid Pacific Country Club in Lanikai in early January.  They spent about a week along the fifth hole.

"They were very tame," says Jason Amoy, the golf course superintendent, "They would come up from the river, walk around, and go back down."

It is illegal to make contact with the nene, but Amoy says the geese would run up to members, getting so close, people were able to read the tags.

There was another sighting in Makapu'u before the two settled at the refuge center.

The goslings hatched in mid March.

So will the flock stay on Oahu?

"It could be that they'll head back to Kauai with the goslings once the goslings can fly," says Marshall.

If the group heads out, Marshall hopes it won't be another three centuries before nene visit Oahu again.

Historically, nene lived on all the major Hawaiian Islands but were not found on Oahu after the 1700s.  Almost driven to extinction, the nene is making a comeback with statewide totals estimated at 2500 on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, and Kauai.

If you see nene on Oahu, call the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at 808-792-9400.

To see the Hawaii News Now nene sighting slideshow, please visit: 

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