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Belonging on an IslandBirds, Extinction, and Evolution in Hawai'i$
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Daniel Lewis

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300229646

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300229646.001.0001

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Counting Extinction

Counting Extinction

Observing and Surveying the Kauaʻi ʻŌʻō and Hawaiian Forest Bird Habitat

(p.52) Two Counting Extinction
Belonging on an Island

Daniel Lewis

Yale University Press

This chapter looks at the Kauaʻi ʻŌʻō, Moho braccatus—a member of a small taxon of mostly yellow and black birds that all went extinct between the mid-nineteenth and late twentieth century. Long after birds went extinct in prehistoric times at the hands of Polynesian settlers who had no apparent understanding of their role in extinction, a dramatic new understanding emerged, as represented in this chapter by the Kauaʻi ʻŌʻō, through observation and documentation between 1966 and 1982. This period of observation also demonstrated the dramatic role the federal government could play in conservation matters in the islands. It was essential work, for it provided an enormous abundance of information previously unknown to science: the distribution, density, and presence or absence of birds in Hawaiʻi, especially forest birds; the identification of threats; and, possibly, clues to their future survival.

Keywords:   Kauaʻi ʻŌʻō, Moho braccatus, extinction, federal government, conservation

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