Hard to believe but this pandemic has kept us in various stages of lockdown for nearly a year now. A common refrain heard around the world is that as a result of spending more time at or close to home, more people have a much greater appreciation for their natural surroundings. Increased awareness of the birds around us is one of the things most cited, regardless of where COVID has us holed up. This piece in the February 24th issue of a local newspaper on the mainland recounts stories of how the need to stay close to home has broadened the horizons for lots of birders around the country, including one ("MT") from Honolulu. According to the article, MT "learned about how white tern chicks are raised around the perimeter of her favorite park during quarantine. Those active nests were reported, put in a database, and the trees flagged to warn trimmers for purposes of conservation. This made it a win-win situation for both birders and nestlings." To MT - Welcome to the growing number of folks on Oahu that the White Terns have helped make it through the past year!
To read how birds have helped others endure the pandemic, check out the article here: https://www.muskogeephoenix.com/news/lifestyles/birding-today-virus-keeping-birders-close-to-home/article_6e7ea477-7b33-5802-8f1a-a1fe70e26b9d.html
Many, many, MANY thanks to Leah Kerschner and her Kupu sponsor for all the white tern breeding survey work she has done over the past couple of months! Yesterday was the last day of her Kupu sponsored internship with DLNR/DOFAW and the map shows the more than 150 trees where Leah documented our Manu o Ku tending either an egg or a chick. Most of these trees now have blue "tern tape" on them to make them easier to spot. We now need help to monitor these trees so we can track the progress of the egg or chick and to remove the blue ribbon when the chick fledges. You can download the below file to your computer or mobile device to find the trees and to submit your observations. We'll be offering online training soon on how to use the "app" to do White Tern Citizen Science. Watch this space for more information on that. In the meantime you can use the map and the app to find and enjoy watching nesting terns, something we are uniquely fortunate in being able to do. And Mahalo Nui to Leah for all her hard work!
Check out the video below from BBC's Islands of Wonder series!
The Virtual Manu-o-Ku Festival is going on right now! The Festival will be online from Saturday May 16 through Friday May 22. Follow the below link to go to the Festival!
In anticipation of the upcoming virtual Manu o Ku festival we want to hear from those who consider this special bird to be their aumakua. Several members of the Manu o Ku ohana have shared their stories with us in the past about the white ternʻs special relationship with their family. If the Manu o Ku plays that role for you we would be honored to share your story as part of this yearʻs celebration. You can email your story to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Better yet, shoot a video of yourself describing in your own words your special connection with the Manu o Ku and weʻll post it on the festival webpage.
Aloha White Tern Photographers!
The Manu o Ku Virtual Festival kicks off on Saturday May 16 and will feature a White Tern Digital Photo Exhibit. Submissions are now being accepted for the exhibit that are taken of white terns here on Oahu. Submission to the exhibit is open to everyone, free of charge! All you need to do is email your photos to email@example.com with whatever descriptions you’d like posted with the photos. You’ll get photo credit for your submission and our promise that we won’t further distribute or reuse your photos without your permission.
The purpose of the photo exhibit is to share with others what you were fortunate to see and photograph. We’ve created a number of categories for your submissions and you are invited to submit up to five photos for each category. The categories are:
- Terns and Fish: White terns carrying fish or feeding their chicks.
- Terns and Blossoms: Terns perched or flying amongst tree blossoms
- Terns as Art: “Artistic” images of terns captured with a camera (with or without post-processing effects applied) or that are drawn or painted (and then photographed for submission to the exhibit). Let your creative juices flow!
- Terns just being terns: Terns flying, nesting, preening, sleeping, interacting with chicks, etc.
Photos taken with any type of camera are welcome. As they say, “The best camera is the one you have with you.” And sometimes the camera in our pocket is the only one we have when we see the terns doing something interesting. Don’t feel as though your photos aren’t worthy of submission because you didn’t use a big camera with a huge lens. If you like the photo you took with your cell phone we want to give you a chance to share it with others!
Some tern behaviors are best captured in video and so there will also be a category for short videos of terns. It’s requested that you keep videos to a maximum of 60 seconds in length.
The deadline for submissions is May 9. If you want to get fresh photos you can view the Active manu-o-Kū Nest Map to help you find trees where breeding activity has been seen recently. Remember to observe social distancing and relevant guidelines for accepted outdoor activity.
Thanks in advance for your participation in the first ever Manu o Ku Virtual Festival's digital photo exhibit!
Several weeks ago we suggested that you save the date May 16 for this year's Manu o Ku Festival. Since the outbreak of the covid-19 crisis you probably figured that the festival would be postponed or cancelled. Well, so did we at first. But after further thought, the planning committee decided to go ahead and hold the festival but with some changes that are in keeping with the new set of circumstances weʻre all dealing with. This year's festival is going to be a VIRTUAL event that will allow us all to remain at home and observe social distancing while still celebrating our Manu o Ku. The program is still being put together but we're planning to offer a mix of live and prerecorded material that you'll be able to enjoy with your family from the comfort of your home. There will be games for the keiki, talks about the Manu o Ku, a virtual white tern walk, a photo exhibit, music and more. Refreshments? That will be completely up to you as this will be a BYO affair. Stay tuned for additional details on this yearʻs new format festival but one thing we can pretty safely say is that it will happen rain or shine!
Out of an abundance of caution, the Terns and Trees Guided Tour, originally scheduled to take place at UH Manoa on March 15, has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience.
At this time, the White Tern Walk in Waikiki is still scheduled for Saturday, March 14. Any changes will be posted here.
The best viewing of breeding white terns on Oahu continues to be in Waikiki so that's where the March White Tern Walk will take place. Join us on Saturday, March 14, from 9:00 to 10:30 for a walk that will take in some of the active white tern nesting spots in the heart of Waikiki. Meet behind the stage at the base of the big banyan tree at the Royal Hawaiian Center on Kalakaua Avenue at 9:00 if you'd like to join us. Please RSVP by text to 808-379-7555.
Join us Sunday, March 15, for a special Terns and Trees Guided Tour at UH Manoa. Weʻll meet in the SOEST courtyard (red circle on attached map snippet) at 0900 for this walk, sponsored by the UH Campus Arboretum, Hawaii Audobon Society and the Hui Manu o Ku. Plenty of parking in the parking lot behind the Kennedy Theater (blue square on the map snippet).