Wildlife never fails to stun us and the internet is proof! From a starfish’s movements to bizarre deep sea creatures discovered in the Indian Ocean, the list is endless. This time, an endangered seabird was captured on camera as it emerged from its burrow about a month before the Mauna Loa started erupting. The clip was shared on the official Twitter handle of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park which released the footage of the rare bird.
In the video, the fluffy, young akēʻ akē was caught on camera as it made its way out of its high-elevation burrow on the slopes of Mauna Loa inside the Big Island’s Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. It was a month before the Mauna Loa began erupting that the endangered seabird fledgling was seen on camera. Interestingly, it’s the first confirmed akēʻ akē nest identified in the National Park, according to biologist Charlotte Forbes Perry with the University of Hawaiʻi Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, who observed the chick inside its burrow after a Hawaii Detector dog Slater sniffed it out in September.
#BirdIsTheWord!Newly released footage shows the first documented ʻākeʻāke (band-rumped storm petrel) fledgling in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.
— Hawaii Volcanoes NPS (@Volcanoes_NPS) December 7, 2022
The bird, identified as the band-rumped storm petrel, is difficult to find as it doesn’t leave a lot of evidence behind. “Biologists in the park have known of the presence of ʻakēʻ akē on Mauna Loa since the 1990s. In 2019, ʻakēʻ akē burrow calls were recorded during acoustic monitoring which indicated nesting. The lack of visual signs like guano at their nest sites make them extremely hard for humans to locate," said Perry in a press release. It was after Slater’s historical discovery that they were able to locate the akēʻ akē’ nest and three Hawaiian petrel nests in two days.
The wildlife cameras that were installed to monitor the burrows made the storm petrel’s visibility possible. According to the American Bird Conservancy, akēʻ akē weigh as much as a golf ball and are ash black with a wide white band on its squarish tail. They spend most of their lives at sea but nest on isolated islands. There are about 150,000 akēʻ akē globally with about 240 pairs known in Hawai’i.
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