Sea Birds 

Ground-nesting Sea birds arrive in late March and chicks fledge in early December.   If you see a seabird in distress, call DLNR (984-8100), the Division of Forestry & Wildlife (873-3983), or the National Park Service (572-4491).  From October to December, there is staff to respond daily to such calls.  You may also call the police using their non-emergency number, 244-6400 and they will contact someone for you.

 Shearwater Sea Bird Chick
Shearwater Sea Bird adult

 Hawaiian Seabirds-- Wedgetailed Shearwater  ('Ua 'u kani)

Seabirds are made for life on the ocean, gliding on the wind with their 38" wingspan, drinking sea water and eating fish and squid. Some birds remain at sea for years at a time, spending most of their time on the wing.  Hawaii’s seabirds are scarce around human-inhabited islands because most are ground-nesters and are therefore prey for cats, rats, dogs, mongoose, and people.

The majority of seabirds mate for life and return to the same area each year to raise their young. Males and females of most species look similar. Both share parenting duties.  Seabirds have lost most of their nesting grounds in the main islands and were once hunted for their feathers and eggs. Today, all species are protected by federal and state laws.

Nesting “wedgies” are common on main island coasts, offshore islets and in the Northwest Chain. These birds’ mating calls sound like agonized moaning.
   
 

 

Concerns: Sea birds are often hit by cars, or killed by cats and loose dogs who find the ground tunnels or burrows.  Sea birds are not agile on land and cannot readily fly when threatened by a dog or cat.   Though not endangered, the loss of these otherwise gentle, native birds can be minimized by education, signage, and respect from the public to keep dogs on leash, use a humane trap for feral cats, and to not walk where the tunnels are present.

 

Please help 'Grounded Birds'!  Hawaiian Petrels, Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, and several other seabirds nest on Maui each year from March through November.  When the young birds leave the nest burrows they often mistake the lighting of our homes, streets, hotels, playing fields, etc. for the starlight and either hit an object or become exhausted flying in the wrong direction and fall to the ground.  If you see a 'grounded' sea bird that is not near a nesting site—retrieve it if you can.  They cannot easily fly from the ground once so grounded. Place it in a box; be careful as they may use their only defense and bite!  Put the box in a place safe from sun, wind, and dogs or cats. 

 

Do NOT give food or water. 

Do NOT release the bird yourself.  

Immediately call DLNR (984-8100), the Division of Forestry & Wildlife (873-3983), or the National Park Service (572-4491).  From October to December, there are staff to respond daily to such calls.  You may also call the police using their non-emergency number, 244-6400.... they will contact someone for you.