KISC to host virtual event to address dwindling forest bird populations

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Kauai Invasive Species Committee (KISC) is slated to hold a virtual conversation on June 4 to address dwindling forest bird populations on the island.

The fourth virtual ‘Forest Friday’ conversation focuses on the question: Is it too late to save our native forest birds?

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“We thought we had a little more time,” Dr. Lisa Crampton said. “ It’s happening right now. We’re losing birds.” 

Warming temperatures are allowing mosquitoes to survive at higher elevations. Mosquitoes are known to carry avian malaria and avian pox, diseases that are deadly to all native forest birds. 

During the virtual event, which begins at 4 p.m., Crampton will provide an update on her team’s recent findings on three federally listed species: ‘akikiki, puaiohi, and ‘akeke’e and one threatened species: ʻiʻiwi.  

These birds aren’t the first to face extinction on Kauai.

University of Hawaii Professor Emerita Sheila Conant will also be a panelist during the conversation, and she will talk about the 1970s; a time before the extinction of kama’o, ‘o’o, and ‘o’u.  

Rounding out the panel for June will be Kumu Kehaulani Kekua of Halau Palaihiwa O Kaipuwai. She will share the Hawaiian cultural relationships with birds in the sacred environment of the forest and how traditional practices ensured cycles of life, health and well-being. 

Anyone with an interest is welcome to join the conversation by attending the Zoom presentation. Registration is required or viewers can watch live on Facebook at the KISC or KFBRP pages. 

To help protect Kauai’s native forest birds, experts encourage: 

1) Take measure to reduce your personal climate footprint. 

2) On Kauai, avoid creating standing water sources in which mosquitoes breed. 

3) Support measures like landscape mosquito control to reduce the spread of disease among the birds. 

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