Good news is scarce these days so it is a pleasure to read that Honolulu’s official bird, the Manu-o-Ku or White Tern (Gigis alba) is thriving in, of all places, urban Honolulu and Waikiki. Why they would choose the most industrialized part of Oahu to live, fish and raise their young remains a mystery. Some think that it is the proximity to fishing areas and some think that our oft-pruned trees have nice branch scars and nooks on which to lay their eggs without any nests. Certainly the many large trees in the area, many planted or planned by The Outdoor Circle over many decades, provide the perfect environment for these beautiful birds.
Civil Beat recently published an upbeat article on September 21st entitled “How The Manu-o-Ku Became Honolulu’s Top Bird” by Keith Rollman. He remarked that these graceful white birds are the only ones that actually seem to enjoy flying. On any day they can seen alone or in pairs performing their stunning aerial acrobatics, circling high overhead and swooping low to reach their nesting trees. Their swept-back wings are aerodynamically designed for speed and enabling them to fly up to one hundred miles out to sea in the day and return home at night.
Fortunately there is now a huge amount on information about these birds online.
Start at www.whiteterns.org for the most comprehensive sources including nesting and tree maps, key publications and gorgeous photos and videos, thanks to the many lovers of these unique birds that do so much to stimulate interest in them.
Below you will find some key facts found online to help you get started.
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Greenleaf is the online newsletter and blog of The Outdoor Circle. Here you will find updates on the projects and accomplishments of our many branches throughout the state, as well as programs with statewide impact.