Endangered state bird of Hawaii, the nene goose, returns to historic habitat

The adventuresome geese likely flew some 90 miles over open ocean to reach their new island home.
By Brooks Hays  |  March 28, 2014 at 12:43 PM
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A pair of Hawaiian geese, or nene -- called so for their "nay nay" coo -- recently returned to a national wildlife refuge on the North Shore of Oahu. It's the first time the birds have been seen there since the 1700s.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed that the mating pair had successfully hatched three goslings. The wildlife officials said the geese got there all on their own, without the help of humans.

Nene, the Aloha State's official bird, is considered endangered. Though it once thrived, hunters and invasive species helped reduce the population to a mere 30 geese by the middle of the 20th century. But conservation efforts have helped the population rebound, now somewhere north of 2,000.

But the majority of the now thriving geese live on the island of Kauai, and had not yet been reintroduced to habitat on Oahu. That means the adventuresome lovers likely flew some 90 miles over open ocean.

“The fact that they would stop and raise youngsters over there -- that's pretty remarkable,” U.S. Geological Service wildlife biologist Steve Hess recently told Earthweek.


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