Maui News

DLNR Aims to Raise Awareness on Endangered Hawaiian Petrels With “ʻUaʻu Nights”

April 23, 2019, 10:32 AM HST
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The DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, in partnership with the Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project and The Friends of Haleakalā, will host a two-night program to educate the public about the ʻUaʻu, or Hawaiian petrels, and their role in Polynesian navigation. The program, called “ʻUʻau Nights,” is open to the public and will allow attendees to hear the birdsʻ unique calls, watch their spectacular acrobatic flying patterns, and learn how to help save this endangered cultural resource.

The first night of the program will begin on Friday, April 26 at 7 p.m. at the Kamehameha Schools Maui Campusʻ Charles Reed Bishop Learning Center. This event will feature former Hikianalia navigator Kala Baybayan-Tanaka of Hui O Waʻa Kaulua, who will share how seabirds help navigators. Jay Penniman of the Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project will also talk about the bird’s biology and how we can all help protect this endangered species.

The second night will start at at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 27 at the Halekalā National Park. Attendees will get to participate in a “look and listen” session to experience the unique pre-breeding flight rituals and haunting chorus of `Ua`u as they return to their alpine colony. Anyone planning to attend is advised to dress for cold temperatures. National park entrance fees will be collected.

According to the DLNR, seabirds have helped traditional navigators find land and fish for centuries. Today, modern light pollution confuses young seabirds, ruining this centuries-old resource for navigators. Lights on land can appear like stars or moonlight when reflected onto the water, tricking these birds into circling over flood lights around condos, hotels, and big store parking lots. The birds often circle over these areas until they are exhausted and drop to the pavement where they fall prey to cats, dogs, and cars.

Below is a list of lighting tips to avoid confusing ʻUaʻu:

  • Remember: “Low, Long, and Shielded.” Keep outdoor lights as LOW as possible, and angle or point lights downward. Always use LONG wavelength (warm colors) lights and use SHIELDS to direct light toward the ground.
  • Use timers or motion control lighting to keep areas naturally dark until light is really needed.  
  • When shopping for outdoor bulbs, be sure to only buy LEDs that are 2700 kelvin or less. These lights provide the longest wavelength light and minimize the short wavelength, or blue light that scatters in the atmosphere.
  • Inform your neighbors, as well as condo, hotel, and store managers, on ways to make parking lot lights safer for birds without compromising safety for people.       

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