Hawaii Wildlife Center workers are on Oahu this month to help rehabilitate hundreds of young seabirds.
When chicks take their first flight out to sea, they rely on the light of the moon to guide them.
Experts say man-made light in an urban setting, like Honolulu, attracts and disorients the birds, causing them to fall to the ground from exhaustion, or fly into buildings or vegetation, leaving them vulnerable to predators.
This “fallout” occurs primarily between September and December.
“They require help getting back out to sea where they’ll spend the next several years, so every year we work with partners on all the islands and on Oahu particularly for this project,” said Linda Elliott, HWC president and center director.
What should you do if you come across a downed seabird?
If you’re not sure what type of bird you’ve found, take a photo and email it to email@example.com or call (808) 884-5000, Elliott says. If it’s in an area prone to high traffic and/or predation, put the bird in a box and take it to an approved drop-off site.
On Oahu, seabirds can be dropped off 24 hours a day, seven days a week at Feather and Fur Animal Hospital, 25 Kaneohe Bay Drive in Kailua, as well as at James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge, the Hawaiian Humane Society, and Sea Life Park.
HWC will take the birds to a temporary facility at Honolulu Zoo to be treated. Please do not drop off birds directly at the zoo.
“Our team will recover them, do a full evaluation, and if they’re healthy we’ll get them back out into the ocean right away. If they require any rehabilitation, we will take them in, stabilize them, and then transfer them to the main wildlife hospital here in Kapaau on Hawaii Island,” Elliott said.