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Oʻahu residents tasked to help fallen seabirds

 'Ua'u kani (wedged-tailed shearwater)
Hawaiʻi Wildlife Center

Seabird fallout season is upon us and that means young birds are flying out to sea for the first time.

The inexperienced flyers can mistake artificial lights for the moon — crashing and falling out of the sky.

The Hawaiʻi Wildlife Center is asking the Oʻahu community to help deliver fallen seabirds to a hospital.

The native ʻUaʻu kani (wedged-tailed shearwater) can be identified by their gray feathers, long black beaks and webbed feet.

"If you find one, basically the best thing you can do for it is a speedy response. Just be careful of the beak. It has a little bit of a hook on the end of the beak," said Rae Okawa with the Hawaiʻi Wildlife Center.

"They don't really run. They're built for ocean life. So they have really far back legs. They have webbed feet. They can't lunge at you, but they still can bite," she told HPR. "If you have a towel or a shirt or a jacket, just gently wrap the bird in that and find some kind of laundry basket or cardboard box and use that as a holder until someone else can advise you further or you can take it to a drop off location."

Other native seabirds like the ʻAkēʻakē (Band-rumped Storm-petrel), ʻAʻo (Newell Shearwater), and ʻUaʻu (Hawaiian Petrel) are considered to be endangered species.

Fallen seabirds can be dropped off at the Hawaiian Humane Society or the Feather and Fur Animal Hospital. About 560 fallen seabirds were dropped off last year.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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