Shearwaters & Petrels may need your help September 15-December 15!
In the fall months on Kaua‘i, multiple agencies are collaborating to help save threatened ‘A‘o, or Newell’s shearwaters, and endangered ‘Ua‘u, or Hawaiian petrels during their fledging period. It’s a time when the birds are finding their way out to sea and may collide with manmade structures or become exhausted, disoriented and land, becoming targets for predators.
You can do your part by reducing light pollution, managing pets (keeping them inside or in enclosures at night) and by following three simple steps outlined by the SOS program if you find a downed bird.
If you find a downed bird on Kaua‘i, do the following:
- Pick up the bird as safely and quickly as possible. Using a towel, jacket, t-shirt or other cloth is helpful to gently wrap the bird. Approach the bird from behind if possible and gently fold the wings closed with your hands. Place the bird in a ventilated box for transport to the aid station. Though shearwaters have a long, pointed bill, they are usually docile and easy to handle. Gently covering the head (like a tent) and keeping voices down will help the bird remain calm and less stressed. Do not feed, water, or handle birds.
- Take the bird to the nearest shearwater aid station--this includes each of the Fire Stations on the island, as well as Hanalei Liquors and Kilauea Medical Group. Remember, the aid stations are only available from September 15 to December 15. The rest of the year the fire stations are provided with pet carriers so that found seabirds can be dropped off year-round.
- Record the location and time where you found the bird as precisely as possible on the attached white board. The best information would be a street address or street intersection, the number of a nearby utility pole or highway mile marker, or GPS coordinates. If you are in a hurry, you can leave your telephone number so staff can call you to get additional information about the bird you found.
If you must keep the bird overnight, keep it in a ventilated cardboard box with a secure lid in an area that is neither too hot nor too cold. Please keep the bird in a quiet, dark area and do not attempt to feed, handle, or release the bird.
On Kaua‘i, SOS staff and/or a veterinarian evaluate the health of each seabird. When each bird is ready to be released, they are brought to release boxes during the daytime, at coastal locations around Kaua'i. The seabirds acclimate and fly out to sea when they are ready.
To help reduce the light pollution that attracts these rare, native birds, businesses and residents can turn out as many lights as possible, close your curtains at night, and install “seabird safe” lights and motion detectors. We’ll all save energy, save money, and save Kaua‘i’s native species.
Anyone finding a fallen or injured seabird on Neighbor Islands please follow the handling instructions above, and contact the following:
• If on O‘ahu call or take the bird to Sea Life Park (808) 561-8641
• If on Maui call Save Our Seabirds at: (877) 428-6911 or Jay Penniman at 808 280-4114/269-6751 or 573-4987- click here for the Maui SOS brochure
Or call your local DOFAW office for instruction:
O‘ahu Branch (808) 973-9778 or 721-0698
Kaua‘i Branch (808) 274-3433
Maui Branch (808) 984-8100
Moloka‘i (808) 553-1745
Lana‘i (808) 565-7916
Hawai‘i Branch (808) 974-4221