Did you know that the Howard Hughes Corporation named its new Ward Village Ae'o project after a native species of the land upon which it will be built? When the Ward family purchased the land in the 1970's, the land was known as the`ili of Kukuluae`o, a small area within a larger ahupua`a—a traditional subdivision of land. Known for its plentiful fishponds and salt pans, this resource-rich area sustained generations of native Hawaiians. One of its native species was the Ae'o bird, or the Hawaiian stilt bird, which is considered today as endangered.
A little endangered Hawaiian Stilt chick is all grown up and ready to be on its own after a seven-week stay at the Hawaii Wildlife Center in Kapaau.
The chick was rescued on Oahu and after an unsuccessful attempt to reunite it with its parents, it was decided that the young bird would need to be sent to HWC to be raised until it was old enough to be on its own.
The successful rescue and release was a team effort by the center, USDA Wildlife Services, Wheels for Wildlife volunteers, Feather and Fur Animal Hospital, and the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW).
While at HWC, the chick was monitored using a remote camera system and staff took great care to prevent the stilt from becoming accustomed to humans. In addition to minimizing physical contact, staff used a mirror and photos of stilt habitat and Hawaiian Stilt adults in the incubator and aviary to provide some enrichment while the bird was under care.
The bird’s growth was documented through weekly pictures taken from intake until it was transferred to Oahu DOFAW staff for release Thursday.
This release of a Hawaiian Stilt (Ae‘o) is the latest in a busy release week for the center, including a Hawaiian Duck (Koloa Maoli), Wedge-tailed Shearwater (‘Ua‘u kani), and a White-tailed Tropicbird (Koa‘e kea), all from Oahu.