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State of the Birds Report

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Mariana Fruit Dove by Jack

Immediate help is needed for many island birds making their last stand.

Island birds are especially restricted by where they can live, and those restrictions tighten when development and nonnative predators and plants consume the limited supply of habitat. Such is the case on Hawai`i, where avian malaria; predation by introduced rats, cats, and mongooses; pressure by grazing ungulates, such as sheep, goats, and pigs; and habitat degradation by invasive plants are pushing several species toward extinction. One-third of all of America’s federally endangered birds are Hawaiian species.

On other American islands, invasive species are likewise taking a sizable toll on endemic birds. The brown tree snake is a menace on Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, responsible for nine extinctions and extirpations within the last 50 years. Efforts are underway to relocate imperiled species such as Bridled White-eye to snake-free islands. The last remaining population of Mariana Crow on the island of Rota is imperiled by feral cats. Several species on American Samoa and U.S. territories in the Caribbean, such as Spotless Crake and Puerto Rican Parrot, face critical shortages of quality habitat.

Hawai'i 'Amakihi by Jack

Conservation works!

Relocations of Millerbirds and Laysan Ducks in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are increasing the populations of those species and reducing their risk of extinction. The `Alalā has been absent in the wild on Hawai`i Island for more than a decade, but captive breeding has kept the species alive and grown its population. Work is now underway to prepare habitat for reintroductions.



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