Annual blessing marks start of critical Kauaʻi forest bird field season
The Kaua‘i Forest Bird Recovery Project hosts its annual Hawaiian blessing for the 2023 field season, which for at least two species of Hawaiian honeycreepers is a critical year.
Of the eight remaining forest bird species on Kaua‘i, two face imminent extinction, according to state officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. The ‘akikiki and ‘akeke‘e, are threatened by mosquito-borne avian malaria.
Warmer climates in recent years have allowed non-native mosquitoes to move to higher elevations, increasing the risk of disease to native forest birds. During this field season, KFBRP will collect as many of the the last remaining ‘akikiki as possible and place them under human care until mosquito control efforts can be implemented to ensure their survival in the wild.
Kumu and haumana of the Ka ‘Imi Na‘auao O Hawai‘i Nei Institute, and staff and volunteers from KFBRP will gather to bless the upcoming field season with songs and dances to invoke the protection and good will of the gods and the elders for Kaua‘i’s native forest birds and their habitat.
Forest bird recovery projects are a collaboration between the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife and the University of Hawai‘i Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit.
The blessing is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023 at 2 p.m.