What Is the Hawaii's State Bird ?
by Denis Dore
Hawaii's State Bird - The Famous Nene Goose
The official Hawaii's State bird is very unique for at least 3 reasons:
1. It's called the "Nene" (pronounced nay-nay) or Hawaiian Goose (branta sandvicensis)
2. It lives in a very special environment: mostly Maui's Haleakala Volcano Crater (but can also be seen on Molokai)
3. It's a native and highly endangered species.
On the Maui FAQ page I posted a picture of this rare bird that I took near the parking lot in the Haleakala Volcano National Park and asked: What is this bird?
Charlene, from Washington, was the first to answer:
"I believe that is the elusive Hawaiian state bird, the Nene goose. I tried to spot one on several trips up to the Haleakala Crater, with no luck!"
Charlene was right.
This is indeed a picture of a nene. A very curious one in fact! I was only a few meters away when I took this shot.
Charlene wasn't lucky enough to see one, but nene have become more and more accustomed to people and they now come closer and closer. This might be great for pictures, but this can become a real threat to their survival.
Nene need to stay away from cars and keep their natural instinct to survive in the wild.
So please, if you ever encounter a nene, help the Haleakala National Park team by respecting a few basic rules as stated on the official website:
• Keep them wild
Do not give them any food or water.
• Give them space
Getting too close can disturb the nene. If the birds move when you move, you are too close.
• Keep them safe
Even the most trained pets can disturb nene. Please keep your pets away from these birds. Take unwanted pets to the local humane society.
Why not adopt a nene?
You can do so by visiting the Friends of Haleakala website.
Sounds pretty cool to say to your friends back at home that you sponsor a nene living in Maui, in the middle of the giant crater of a sleeping volcano.. don't you think? :)