The 2019 White Tern breeding season on Oahu is off to a great start with several of the most visible nesting spots already occupied by adults tending eggs or small chicks. Join us on Saturday, December 22, for a walk that will take in some of the best of the best white tern nests 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.
The Hawaii Wildlife Center is advertising for a Manu O Ku Internship at the Honolulu Zoo. Resumes, cover letters, and dates of availability should be sent to Patrick@HawaiiWildlifeCenter.org by December 9!
Susan Scott's new book on the Manu o Ku is now available for purchase on the Hawaii Audubon Society webpage. Get a copy for yourself and share the joy of the white terns of Oahu with friends and family. Just in time for Christmas!
We have a new winner for the title of tree with the most eggs being incubated at the same time. And the winner is... (drum roll)... The Banyan tree at the International Market Place! Over the two years we've been monitoring that tree, we've documented 13 separate nesting spots and when last surveyed a week ago, 8 of them were occupied by adults on eggs. We've never seen this many eggs in one tree at the same time. In addition to the 2 eggs in the most visible nesting spots there are a half dozen more scattered throughout the tree. Next time you're at the International Market Place use the attached photos showing the location of each of the nesting spots to see how many of them you can find. Treat yourself to a piece of chocolate at the Godiva store if you find them all. And please let us know if you see any we missed!
You can follow the progress of each the eggs, and the chicks as they hatch, by clicking on the link below. Here you'll see some of the data points in the white tern nesting database we maintain that are derived from observations submitted by white tern citizen scientists.
Six of the white tern nesting spots in the big banyan tree at the International Market Place, including two offering the best viewing on Oahu, are now occupied by adults incubating eggs. In a couple of weeks a few of them should contain newly hatched chicks. And across the street at the Royal Hawaiian Center there are more eggs and chicks. Take a break from the holiday rush and join us at 9:00 on Saturday, December 1, for a short walk filled with some of the best white tern viewing in the entire breeding range. Meet behind the stage at the base of the big banyan at the Royal Hawaiian Center if you'd like to join us. Please RSVP by text to 808-379-7555.
There are currently more than 100 white tern eggs being incubated in the greater Honolulu-Waikiki area. And weʻre trying to track every one of them to see how many hatch chicks and how many of those chicks survive to fledge! The data we collect also helps us help chicks when they fall from the trees by showing exactly where in the tree their nesting spot is so we can reunite them with their parents. Itʻs a growing challenge to keep up with the expanding tern population on Oahu and we appreciate all the help we get from the growing community of white tern fans. If youʻd like to help us monitor the terns near where you live or work check out the map below showing the location of all the trees that we know about where eggs are currently being tended. You can check the interactive Active Egg Map on this site to zoom in and see more precisely where the trees are location. Visit the Citizen Science page to tell us what see when you check a nesting spot.
There are a couple of amazing white tern nesting viewing opportunities in Waikiki right now, so we are organizing a "flash" short notice walk to check them out. They're concentrated in the area of the Royal Hawaiian Center, so we'll gather behind the stage at the base of the big banyon tree. This walk is being organized with photographers in mind, so feel free to bring your camera(s). Please RSVP so we'll know if we need to divide the group to avoid inconveniencing others visiting that busy tourist area. Email email@example.com to RSVP.
The Hui is collaborating with Sarah Donahue of Hawaii Pacific University on an exciting new research study! See Sarah's message below to learn more about the study and how you can be involved.
My name is Sarah Donahue, I'm a researcher from the Pelagicos Lab at HPU, and I'm working in collaboration with Hui Manu`o`Kū (and other great organizations) to study the diet and marine food web supporting our growing population of White Terns on O`ahu.
Our goals are to describe the diet using three approaches: (i) identification of prey from photos of adults provisioning chicks, (ii) identification of freshly dropped white tern prey using genetics, and (iii) analysis of the Carbon and Nitrogen isotope ratios in white tern tissues and their prey using opportunistically sampled deceased specimens.
This study aims to broaden our knowledge of our fairy friends; who colonized O`ahu in 1961 (Ord 1961) and have reached a population of over 2300 birds in the last 57 years (VanderWerf & Downs 2018). We are eager to create a "starting point" of data to be able to compare to future diet studies. We also want to develop a broader understanding of how these birds fit into the marine ecosystem surrounding the islands where they breed.
You may be wondering why am I writing all of this to you. Well, I am poking at your inner scientist button! I need YOUR HELP, as citizen scientists, to make the diet portion of this project possible.
So, if would like to assist us with this fascinating research please email your photos of White Tern parents with prey in their bills to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will share my findings with you and you will receive acknowledgement in any talks and papers using your observations.
Information to include for pictures:
- Day, year, time, location, nest, tree, and any additional descriptive information you may have (if you were there for the whole feed, how long did the parent feed, did you watch the chick get fed more then once, etc.).
Moreover, if you happen to be walking around (talking amazing photos!) and happen to come across prey that looks to be fresh, here's what you can do:
1) Take a picture
2) Put it in a ziploc bag
3) On a piece of paper, write day, time & location found and put it in the ziploc
4) Freeze it asap (if you don't mind putting it in your own freezer; to preserve it)
5) Email me and get a hold of Rich Downs with an exact location and which nest the prey is under and we will find a way to get it to the lab.
Everyone likes incentives and so we can make this a competition! To the top 5 people who provide the most prey, whether it be pictures, dropped fish or both, between now until January 31st, 2019, I will personally paint each of you, your favorite white tern picture and award you with a $20 Starbucks gift card.
I will be posting research updates for the project on the White Tern Citizen Science Facebook Group as well, for you all to see and to peak your interests more about learning about what these birds eat and how we can determine changes in food web assemblages by studying seabird diet and trophic position!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and I hope you will help us out! If you have any questions about the project as well feel free to email me. Mahalo for your time and collaboration!
We’re all breathing a huge sigh of relief that the greater Honolulu area was spared the worst of Hurricane Lane. As we prepared for Lane, we worried about what might happen to the more than 200 active white tern nests if, as expected, hurricane force winds lashed the area and we were inundated with several inches of rain. Fortunately, Lane stalled and fizzled off shore, and we and the terns dodged a potentially devastating bullet.
After completing the August nesting survey we identified active nests that would be most vulnerable to the anticipated effects of the storm. These included nesting spots with eggs or chicks at all stages of development, except flighted juveniles. Thanks largely to Calvin Proctor, the Hawai'i Wildlife Center intern currently detailed to the Honolulu Zoo, we’ve been able to survey 169 of these at-risk nests to begin to assess Lane’s impact. 14 (8.28%) of them failed sometime between when they were surveyed in August prior to the 25th and when they were checked again after the storm. Put another way, nearly 92% of the these most at-risk nesting events survived Lane. For context, over 60% of the nesting events we’ve tracked in 2018 have resulted in a successfully fledged chick. The losses during the storm were far less than feared, but we’ll have to wait to see how many of this cohort ultimately fledge to better understand the impact of our brush with Lane on the nesting terns.
The map below shows the locations of the 169 nesting spots surveyed after Lane with yellow pins marking failed events.
Join the Hui and the University of Hawaii in a guided tour of White Terns on the UH-Manoa Campus on Sunday, September 23 from 9-10:30. We will meet in front of Sinclair Library.