Hawaiian Petrel - Uau
Known to the Hawaiians as Uau for their haunting, nocturnal call, the endangered Hawaiian Petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis) retains mystery. These birds truly exist in an environment of wind and waves, only returning to the Hawai´ian Islands to nest during the subtropical spring.
Effective conservation of Uau requires a better understanding of its biology and ecology. In 2006, the US Geological Survey partnered with HT Harvey and Associates (David Ainley), the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the State of Hawai'i, Haleakala National Park, and in 2007 with Oikonos to use satellite telemetry to better understand Uau.
Coincident with the early colonization of the Hawaiian Islands, rapid proliferation of introduced mammalian predators and ungulates, diseases, industrialized agriculture and fishing, and urbanization imposed substantial pressure on the Uau. As a result, Uau were one of the first species to be listed as Federally Endangered in 1967.
Established breeding pairs will first attempt nesting at approximately 6 years age, and will return to the same nest site year after year for upwards of 40 years in an annual effort to produce a single chick (typically, procellariids lay only one egg per year). This life history strategy can facilitate rapid population declines and slow recovery when adult survival is compromised.
Small colonies of the once abundant ´Ua´u now are confined to the summit areas of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, Hawai'i, Haleakala, Maui, and remote forested areas on Hawai'i, Kaua'i, and Lana'i. Uau continue to be impacted by loss of habitat, predation, and threats both on land and at sea.
Whereas predation and habitat degradation by non-native species are principal threats to the endangered Hawaiian Petrel, we are using satellite telemetry to address several prerequisites for conservation. Our studies aim to:
In summer 2006, we made an initial attempt to track the fine-scale movements of four Uau. We discovered that breeding birds make dramatic, clockwise looping foraging trips throughout a broad area of the north Pacific. Some individual trips exceeded 10,000 km. Preliminary results from this season show a similar pattern of consistent clockwise looping trips throughout the central north Pacific Ocean.
More about Uau
Collaborators and Supporters
In addition to the funders and collaborators above, the following people are providing special expertise and energy to the project:
Jay Penniman: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, University of Hawaii (PCSU)