Birding is cool

7 August 2006

Elle and I have been house sitting for our friends Tim and Tish out in Paradise Park for a couple of days, and that area has all been burned, bulldozered, and otherwise massively disturbed, leaving comparatively little native vegetation. But the presence of native birds was confirmed in a surprising way when an `io, Hawaiian hawk, zoomed across the Kea`au-Pahoa Road in front of our car on Saturday. We were both caught by surprise, and did a kind of visual double take, facing each other and then the bird and then each other again. We have seen a few near our house (including one catching mice on our road), but that is much higher in elevation and has lots more native species in general.

That night, I went to work at the VIS and talked to a couple of birders from Pennsylvania. They had had a lot of success already, and were looking forward to HAVO, so we just mused about the changes in the landscape caused by development both here and back East.

It seems that perhaps a lot of science could be conducted in the same way that birding is–a very open-source, cooperative, education-based enterprise. For some examples of information available to birders, check out these Hawai`i links, one maintained by Bishop Museum, the other by USGS and the Hawai`i Audobon Society.

And if you want to see what an `io really looks like, try this.

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