In January of this past year a pretty amazing thing happened: two nēnē whooshed down at Mid Pacific Country Club in Lanikai, the first time that wild nēnē have touched down on Oʻahu since the 1700's. After delighting golfers near the fifth hole, they later settled down at James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge on Oahuʻs North Shore. Within a month the pair had nested; another month later three goslings hatched out. Experts identified the special geese as K59 and K60, the "K" indicating Kauaʻi as their original home, specifically the Kauai Lagoons golf course. Turns out the links was a favorite spot for quite a few nēnē, but due to its close proximity to Lihue Airport, 200+ of the geese were translocated to the Big Island in an effort to reduce the risk of a bird strike at the airport. Itʻs believed the pair were flying back to Kauaʻi for the breeding season. Happy to have them do a little island hopping.
Once plentiful on all the islands, the nēnē population was down to less than fifty or so individuals in the early 1950ʻs, a result of habitat degradation, hunting, and predators such as feral cats and mongooses. Today, they are climbing back, thanks in large part to captive breeding programs. The population now hovers around 2500, with birds on all the major islands with the exception of Oʻahu. The largest numbers are found on Kauaʻi, most likely due to the lack of mongooses (though they have recently been identified there) as well as lots of lowland habitat. On Hawaiʻi and Mauʻi, they tend to be found at mid and high elevations.Though related to the Canada goose, nēnē are smaller and more terrestrial, with feet showing reduced webbing and padded toes for waddling on rough terrain. Vegetarian grazers, nēnē browse on a range of leaves, berries, seeds and flowers to start their day off right.
welcomes you to visit with the all the wonderful flora and fauna that we share this lovely aina with.