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.
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.
Stilt - photo by Jim Denny |
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.
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.