Millerbirds Return to Laysan

Around 6 months ago 24 Millerbirds from Nihoa Island were hand selected and carefully moved over to Laysan Island. These islands are located in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (a remote chain of islands that are a restricted nature reserve) as part of an effort to preserve the critically endangered bird. Recent updates reported to KHON news show that the scientists monitoring the birds at Laysan seem to be enjoying their new home. 8 of the 12 pairs of Millerbirds have been observed carrying nesting materials, one pair has been observed feeding nestlings, and two other pairs have been observed incubating eggs. The reason the Millerbirds were no longer found on Laysan Island is because a group of rabbits were introduced to the island which wiped out the native vegetation and caused the Millerbirds to die out. This happened during the early part of the 20th century. The only remaining population of Millerbirds was found on Nihoa, a close neighbord of Laysan. Scientists who closely monitor wildlife populations within the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands decided that in order to preserve the species from another tragic event that the remaining Millerbird population on Nihoa needed to be split up to increase the chances of their survival. Just one event, such as a disease outbreak or natural disaster could have wiped their population off the maps because they were all located on the same island. The yearly population counts made by scientists have recorded the Millerbird’s population fluctuation between 200-700, and with a new group on Laysan their numbers should begin to increase.

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