During January of 2010, we ran our second round of volunteer banding trips. This was a continuation of the banding efforts that began in November to capture new Maui Parrotbill and try to locate last years' offspring. These volunteers were experienced banders whom came from various regions to help the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project band our focal bird species. Our group spent time in each of our main Hanawi Natural Area Reserves sites, HR3 and Frisbee. This group of volunteers included Rachel Woodard, Colin Woolley, and Ross Kresnik. Over the course of this month spent banding, we set up nets in four different in areas in each of our sites. Six new Maui parrotbill were caught and banded, including an unbanded pair in Frisbee. An amazing nine akohekohe were caught. Before these volunteer banding trips, we had only about 4 banded akohekohe within the two study areas! Hopefully we can learn more about these birds because of these new additions.
The Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project is very grateful to these volunteers for their time and hard work. We would not have been able to accomplish nearly this much work without them. We appreciate their time as well as the new friendships that developed and all the newly banded birds that resulted from these trips.
Here are some of their thoughts on their experiences:
"As I lay beneath an ohia tree the mist rolled in, making it ever more difficult to identify the soft silhouettes of Maui's most spectacular honeycreepers. Only the vibrant songs of the forest were readily identifiable before being silenced by the footsteps of a researcher laden with banding gear. Prior to this instant I had experienced a moment of reflection regarding my time with the MFBRP.
Unlike many travelling to Maui, my trip would not involve fancy resorts, serene beaches, and overpriced cocktails but was instead a unique opportunity to assist with a banding effort of Maui's most endangered birds. From the moment I met Hanna Mounce (the MFBRP's Avian Conservation Research Facilitator) at the airport, to the point that I departed the island, I felt like a member of their team. The MFBRP is run by a group of highly motivated and skilled individuals which created a strong learning and educational environment while in the field. In addition to understanding the current plight facing these remarkable birds, I learned new banding techniques that will undoubtedly benefit me in future experiences. Besides an excellent group dynamic, this volunteer position offered beautiful scenery, a chance to explore the island, breath taking helicopter rides, and most importantly a chance to examine some of the most incredible birds on this planet.
I have never worked with a better group of researchers throughout all of my adventures. I highly recommend that if given this rare opportunity to volunteer with the MFBRP, you take it; the experience is once in a lifetime!"
Ross J. Kresnik