Birds of Kauai
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Wetland Birds

 

Every species of native wetland bird that was here in 1778 can still be found in the taro patches, streams, and wildlife refuges around the Garden Island. This can be said of no other Hawaiian island except Oahu, and is due, in part, to the lack of the mongoose on Kauai. It has been said that when the mongoose was shipped to Kauai to combat rats in the sugarcane fields, a worker on the docks was inadvertently bitten by one of the furry creatures and angrily threw the crate overboard. Kauai is fortunate not to have this destructive mammal which eats the eggs and young of ground-nesting birds.

Nevertheless, many of our wetland birds are listed as endangered species. Feral cats, dogs, and rats continue to prey upon them and much of Kauai's once vast lowland marsh has succumbed to agriculture and development.

 
Hunakai
Hawaiian Stilt - photo by Jim Denny
 
 

The good news is that a century long trend of shrinking habitat is slowly being reversed. Through the creation of sanctuaries and refuges the State Department of Land and Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have actually increased the amount of wetland habitat available to these birds.

Good places to find these wetland birds are on the ponds and taro patches of the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, at the Wailua Reservoir, at Hanapepe Salt Pond (after heavy rains), at Kawaiele Bird Sanctury near Mana, at Kauai Lagoons near Nawiliwili, and at Smith's Tropical Paradise on the Wailua River.

 
         
 
 
         
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Website designed and created by Matthew Denny (2006).