Out of all the sad things in the world, it pains me the most to know that there are birds alive today, that I will see go extinct in my lifetime. It is also frustrating that some of these birds are in developed countries such as America where the government can afford to protect them.
Here’s a small summary of the 'Akeke’es situation.
The 'Akeke’e is a Hawaiian honeycreeper native to the island of Kaua’i. Hawaiian honeycreepers took a very hard hit along with the rest of Hawaii’s fauna when colonisers arrived. As of 2022, 18 Hawaiian honeycreepers are extinct.
The threats towards the 'Akeke’e are huge, and list is long.
-Introduced plants, displacing native plants. The 'Akeke’e has struggled to adapt to these alterations
-decline of insects
-Avian malaria (transmitted by introduced mosquitos)
-Fowlpox (transmitted by introduced mosquitos)
-Forest clearing by inhabitants of Kaua’i
In 2012 there were less than 5,000 individuals, in 2016 there were only 1000,
in 2021, 638
So what are your thoughts? I would be interested in the takes of people who have been to Hawaii or who livesthere. Also add other birds that you think are going to go extinct if no action is taken like the Baer’s Pochard, Fiji Shearwater, Rio Branco Antwren, Araripe Manakin etc.
I am concerned about our fynbos birds. With global warming South-Western Cape fynbos cannot
head away from the Equator? Further South is the Atlantic Ocean, and a few tiny sub-Antarctic islands.
head up? Table Mountain is 1000 m high, but vegetation already changes as you climb up.
head towards the Equator? Cape Flats will be flooded by rising sea levels. Beyond the ‘inland’ mountain range is the semi-desert Karoo.
Birds that depend on fynbos don’t have a good future.
jeez that’s sad. The saltmarsh sparrow along with the seaside have always been on my bucket list. Marsh and Wetlands based birds are so sensitive yet they are some of the most interesting birds out there. I wonder if the Ipswich Sparrow will go the same way, though it’s not a species per say it’s pretty unique and it’d be a shame if it was lost.
'Akikiki is the one most immediately threatened. It is estimated at less than 40 birds, while 'akeke’e is at least in hundreds, which is at least more than kiwikiu (Maui parrotbill, estimated 90 birds). Was exceptionally fortunate to see both 2 days ago, a very memorable experience. One possible complication is that 'akeke’e is much more difficult to survey since it occupies the upper canopy in steep habitats, but the forest crew seem to be doing a phenomenal job in terms of working with these birds.
Though rats and feral cats are probably one of the driving factors with 'akeke’e decline, in addition to the elephant in the room, avian malaria. The forest habitat it occurs in I don’t believe is subject to clearing as it is all contained within the Alaka’i plateau or Koke’e State Park.
Both of these birds are subject to capture for captive holding. The hope is that captive breeding can be successful, and if not, they can at least hold the birds safely until the threats are controlled in their native habitat. We have our fingers crossed, there’s nothing else that can be done.
You seem to know a lot about this. I have never been to Hawaii, though I would love to. I guess why I said 'Akeke’e over the 'Akikiki is the rate in which it’s declining. From 5,000 to 638 in 10 years. If you ask me, as sad as it is to admit, I think that most of the hawaiian endemics will be extinct within my lifetime, maybe aside from the well off ones like the Iiwi, Nene, and Apapane.