2012 Report (January 2012 to January 2013)

2012 Field Season (February to June) 

This field season, we began intensely monitoring Kiwikiu in The Nature Conservancy’s Waikamoi Preserve. Previous trips in Waikamoi over the past few years have prepared us to work in the area. This was the first year, though, that we intensely followed and monitored breeding Kiwikiu pairs and tried to get a better idea of the population’s demographics in Waikamoi. We’ve monitored the Kiwikiu within the core of their range in the Hanawi Natural Area since 2005 and are now focusing on the edge of their population range in Waikamoi.

A new camp was set up in January and a water catchment was also built. Demographic monitoring was from February to June. Full time staff and AmeriCorps intern, Peter Motyka were joined by five research assistants, Matt Boone, Katherine Caldwell, Jonathan Gunther, Jaan Kolts, and Jennifer Milikowsky.

For the seven-person team, 455 person days amounted to 2941 hours of research work. Within this time, 17 individual Kiwikiu were re-sighted and 8 were newly banded. Overall, 19 Kiwikiu pairs were located and 9 of them were seen with hatch-year birds. Total adult parrotbill within the 158 ha of the study area was estimated at 48. We also found five nests. One was never active, two fledged, and two failed.

An interesting finding that we had this year was two hatch-year birds being found with one pair. This is unusual in parrotbill. They typically lay a one egg clutch and have only been seen with two possible hatch-years about 10 times. Fortunately, we were able to band one of the hatch-years and the male was seen feeding both.

In addition to productivity monitoring, we also experimented with providing supplementary food to the Kiwikiu. Unfortunately, no parrotbill used the feeders in the short time that they were up. We will take what we learned from this year’s trial and improve upon it next year. A poster presentation on our findings will be shown at the Hawai'i Conservation Conference in August 2012.

All of our staff worked very hard this year and we appreciate their efforts and talents to enable this research.


Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Report

In fall 2012 and January 2013, Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project had several productive field trips into both The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Waikamoi Preserve and the Nakula Natural Area Reserve (NAR).

After a trip into the Nakula NAR in the summer of 2012, the MFBRP team selected a camp site for the new trial restoration project that we are implementing in collaboration with The State of Hawai'i Division of Land and Natural Resources and the American Bird Conservancy. This reserve is on the leeward, or southeast slope, of Haleakalā Mountain. The area currently has vast understory damage due to invasive ungulates including pigs, goats and feral cows. A fence has been built around a portion of the reserve and ungulates are currently being removed. This location will be the site of experimental trial restoration efforts over the next several years in order to create new habitat for the Kiwikiu and find the best course of action for managers to eventally re-location site to establish a second population of Kiwikiu. A camp at the designated base site was built in September 2012 by MFBRP staff and two volunteers, Jamie Davidson and Chris Brosius.

In October, we had two volunteers join us, Laura Marie Koitsch and Renee Peter. They came into the Nakula NAR to set up plots that will be used to experiment different types of restoration- natural regeneration, seed scatter, and plantings. In order to prepare for plantings, we also collected various seeds from native plants such as koa and kolea. In December, MFBRP staff went into Nakula NAR again to collect seeds.

In addition to the Nakula trip, our volunteers, Laura Marie and Renee, also helped band in TNC’s Waikamoi Preserve. The Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Project’s Barbara Heindl also joined as a volunteer. We targeted areas where we knew there were young and unbanded Kiwikiu. Color banding these birds will benefit our breeding season research beginning in February. We were able to band two new female Kiwikiu and nine new 'Akohekohe. In January, two more volunteers, Jen Milikowsky, former MFBRP employee, and Denise Turley went into Waikamoi to help us band again. We were able to catch three new male Kiwikiu and one more 'Akohekohe.

Denise also joined MFBRP staff and volunteer, Jamie Davidson in January to help collect seeds and improve camp at the Nakula NAR base camp, named Camp Release. After this last trip, we are getting closer to our seed goals for our plant propagation needs.

We appreciate all the hard work that has been done during the fall and winter. Our regular field season will begin in February and it will be exciting to start re-sighting and following the newly banded birds. Nakula seed collection trips will continue throughout the year and experimental plantings will begin fall 2013. MFBRP has had great volunteers this year.