Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project (MFBRP) is an amazing non-profit organization that needs to be applauded on a daily basis. This group of dedicated individuals works incredibly hard all year long to help protect and save our endemic island birds.
Not only do they conduct research by mist-netting, banding, applying recovery initiatives for species of concern, planting native flora and monitoring breeding success, resource availability, avian disease, non-native species invasions and more…they do it all from remote areas often in inclement weather, sometimes for weeks at a time, camping and remaining in the forest with no outside contact at all. Heroes!
In one season alone, they logged 800 hours of banding! Part of this effort tied in to working with the Smithsonian Institute. They’re trying to determine if some of the endemic forest birds are forming a resistance or tolerance to avian malaria, carried by mosquitos. -Mosquitos are an introduced species to Hawaii and the birds here aren’t accustomed to the diseases they carry. With the introduction of ungulates, especially pigs who dig wallows, mosquitos are flourishing. As temperatures warm, the insects move higher in elevation. The birds’ safety range becomes smaller and smaller.
MFBRP collected over 140 RNA samples from multiple locations on Maui and are anxiously awaiting the results. To hear that some birds are forming resistance to the disease would be incredibly hopeful. I anxiously await the results as well. In the meantime, MFBRP continues to survey for mosquito presence in bird habitat, monitor avian mortality and collect more crucial data.
Formed by the State of Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1997, MFBRP has been an incredible organization working towards the protection of birds, the restoration of native habitat and the eradication of invasive species. They are the gurus of conservation work. They spend long hours in rough terrain and they do it with compassion and pride. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some of the crew members of this team, and they are full of energy, smiles and big hearts. It is individuals like those involved with MFBRP that give me hope for this island and for this world. Lead by example and watch the world change.
Please consider donating to Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project. They could use your help!
Go to http://mauiforestbirds.org