Hawaiian Hawk (´Io) High Like the Hawk By Jonathan Kamehanaokalā Merchant
Interesting Facts: ´Io females are larger than males. Females average 605 g (21.3 ounces). Males average 441 g (15.6 ounces). It is broad winged. Two color phases exist: a light phase (a dark head, light breast, and light underwings), and a dark phase (dark head, breast, and underwings). Feet are yellowish in adults and greenish in juveniles. The ´Io was listed as an endangered species in the year 1967. It had a stable population for at least 20 years because of conservation efforts. The ´Io’s population is estimated at 3,000 ´io based on 2007 census. Endemic (native to) Hawaii Island but has been reported soaring over Moloka´i or Kaua´i. The ´Io’s diet includes insects, rodents, and birds. It also preys on young Hawaiian crows which are already highly-endangered. ´Io can live up to 17 years.
Culture and History: Royal symbol in Hawaiian legend because of its lofty flight. ´Iolani School was named after the ´Io by Queen Emma. Usually named for a high chief because the Hawaiian Hawk flies higher than any other bird. “´Io are considered ´aumaka or personal gods.” ´Iolani Palace on O´ahu is named after the ´Io. ´Iolani means “heavenly hawk” or “royal hawk.” Referred to in ´Olelo No´eau (Hawaiian Proverbs): He ´io au, he manu i kalewa lani. “‘I am an ´io, the bird that soars in the heavenly space.’ A boast. The highest chiefs were often called ´io (hawk), king of the Hawaiian Birds.”
My Reflection on the ´Io The ´Io, or Hawaiian Hawk, is the only raptor in Hawai´i. The ´Io is only found on Hawai´i Island but has been seen soaring above Moloka´i and Kaua´i. The ´Io has been on the Endangered Species List since 1967, but present research shows that the ´Io population has stabilized. The ´Io population in 2007 was about 3,000. It is endangered due to predation from their main predators, cats and dogs. It also is endangered due to loss of habitat caused by pigs and other introduced ungulates that destroy the ohi´a lehua forest where ´Io nest. As a result, ´Io have been moving to higher elevations on Hawai´i Island. Studies say that if development planned for the Big Island actually continues, the ´Io population might go down to 500. I finished a brochure about the ´Io. It includes information about the ´Io’s physical features, habitat, predators, and other interesting facts. It also includes the ´Io’s importance to Hawaiian culture. I shared the brochure with my Cub Scout Den and other friends and family members last week. I hope that my brochure will inform other people to be aware of the ´Io’s importance to native wildlife. I will earn a badge in Cub Scouts for my brochure. I spoke with Fern Duvall who is a wildlife biologist and bird expert. He works for the State Division of Forestry and Wildlife. I asked him if he had seen, touched, or taken care of a hurt or sick ´Io. I also asked if he had seen an ´Io hunt for food, seen its nest, or heard its call. He said that he had seen, touched, and taken care of a baby ´Io. He has also seen its nest which is a big pile of twigs, and heard its call which is a loud whistle and then a shrieking call. Their calls are high pitched and easy to hear. The ´Io calls when flying to its nest, and it is usually a shrill whistle. I also asked Mr. Duvall about how I can help. He said that one thing I could do is to inform other people to be aware. Fern Duvall is trying to help move the ´Io back to the islands where it previously existed (Moloka´i and Kaua´i). He said that this will ensure that there is more than one population in case of a disaster (such as if Mauna Loa and other volcanoes on the Big Island all erupted at once). He also said that it would be better to see if the ´Io can thrive on other islands now. I really enjoyed speaking with Mr. Duvall because he had actual experience with the ´Io and other native birds and was very knowledgeable.
Bibliography: BOOKS Berger, Andrew J. Bird Life in Hawai’i, Island Heritage Publishing (1983), pp. 24-25. Hawaii Audubon Society. Hawaii’s Birds, Hawaii Audubon Society (1997), p. 50. Pratt, H. Douglas; Bruner, Phillip L.; Berrett, Delwyn G. A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific, Princeton University Press (1987), pp. 112-113. Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No’eau: Hawaiian Proverbs and Sayings, Bishop Museum Press (1983) WEBSITES “Endangered Species in the Pacific Islands,” Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/fauna/HIhawk.html, 20/09/12.http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/fauna/HIhawk.html “Hawaiian Hawk,” Birds of North America Online, http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/523/articles/introduction, 2013.http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/523/articles/introduction “Hawaiian Hawk,” National Audubon Society, http://birds.audubon.org/species/hawhaw, DLM: unknown.http://birds.audubon.org/species/hawhaw “Hawaiian Hawk,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_Hawk, 23/03/13.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_Hawk “History of ‘Iolani School,” Iolani School, http://www.iolani.org/about/history, DLM: unknown.http://www.iolani.org/about/history “‘Iolani Palace: A Place for Royalty,” ‘Iolani Palace, http://www.iolanipalace.org/index.php/history.html, DLM: unknown.http://www.iolanipalace.org/index.php/history.html “Raptors: ‘Io (Hawaii’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy, October 1, 2005),” State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, http://www.state.hi.us/dlnr/dofaw/cwcs/files/NAAT%20final%20CWCS/Chapters/Terrestrial%20Fact%20Sheets/raptors/io%20NAAT%20final%2 0!.pdf, 01/10/05. http://www.state.hi.us/dlnr/dofaw/cwcs/files/NAAT%20final%20CWCS/Chapters/Terrestrial%20Fact%20Sheets/raptors/io%20NAAT%20final%2 0!.pdf “Recovery of the Hawaiian hawk or ‘Io,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, www.fws.gov/pacificislands/Publications/HawaiianHawkfactsheet012009.pdf, 00/01/09. www.fws.gov/pacificislands/Publications/HawaiianHawkfactsheet012009.pdf PHOTOS Dark Morph Hawaiian Hawk in Flight: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.avianweb.com/images/birds/birdsofprey/HawaiianHawk2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.avia nweb.com/hawaiianhawks.html&h=517&w=267&sz=91&tbnid=CAcalxWQHgoYCM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=46&zoom=1&usg=__Z40XsruGaJVbdsX02V 6JsrsdqWg=&docid=WrgODh5D2bCSRM&sa=X&ei=H4Z0UciaAYmWiALU0IH4Bg&ved=0CFYQ9QEwBg&dur=64, Caleb Slemmons, www.arkive.org. http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.avianweb.com/images/birds/birdsofprey/HawaiianHawk2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.avia nweb.com/hawaiianhawks.html&h=517&w=267&sz=91&tbnid=CAcalxWQHgoYCM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=46&zoom=1&usg=__Z40XsruGaJVbdsX02V 6JsrsdqWg=&docid=WrgODh5D2bCSRM&sa=X&ei=H4Z0UciaAYmWiALU0IH4Bg&ved=0CFYQ9QEwBg&dur=64 Hawaiian Hawk (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) www.fws.gov/pacificislands/Publications/HawaiianHawkfactsheet012009.pdf, Jack Jeffrey Photography.www.fws.gov/pacificislands/Publications/HawaiianHawkfactsheet012009.pdf Hawaiian Hawk (Wikipedia) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_Hawk, Wikipedia.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_Hawk AUDIO DISC Pratt, H. Douglas, “Voices of Hawaii’s Birds,” Hawaii Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology (2009).