Observing and Surveying the Kauaʻi ʻŌʻō and Hawaiian Forest Bird Habitat
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.
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