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.