Hawaii State Bird

May 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Facts about Hawaii

neneThe Hawaiian goose or the nene (which is pronounced nay-nay) is the official bird of Hawaii and can be seen through various parts of the Hawaiian Islands, in natural habitats as well as the multiple wildlife preserves which are scattered through the islands. These geese emigrated from Canada decades ago and have been seen throughout various parts of the island for decades, eventually becoming the state birds of the Hawaiian Islands.

A critical mistake was made in the 1940s when the birds became nearly extinct after the government allowed the hunting of the Hawaiian geese through a season in which the population levels of was higher than usual. Since this time, two of the three species of Hawaiian geese have been battling with near extinction, and one species has been completely depopulated.

Later, in 1957 after the birds were making a comeback from the threat of extinction they were named the official state bird of Hawaii. Efforts were made to increase the population with the hopes of releasing the birds into their natural habitat to replenish the population.

What features are distinct to the Hawaiian goose? Similar in appearance to the Canada goose, as the species which are located in Hawaii are evolutionary descendants to Canadian geese, the tall bird is grey and light brown in color, with features of black that are present through the beak and prominent on the facial features of the bird, and on the beak. Unique to the Hawaiian goose is the cheek coloring, which is a light beige color and present on many of the birds. The Hawaiian goose ranges between twenty-five and forty inches and interestingly enough does not have completely webbed feet, like other varieties of geese.

Although it is difficult to tell the difference between male and female variations of the geese as the feathers and patterns are similar, experts are able to distinguish between the two sexes. There are experts that have been studying the geese for decades to determine the impacts that humans have on the activities and populations of the geese and have determined that human interaction has effectively reduced the population of the Hawaiian goose.

There are many places where the Hawaiian geese can be seen in their natural habitat, after the population has been replenished. These areas include the volcano parks throughout the islands, mainly Mauna Loa as well as in the various wildlife parks that are located through the island and the state zoo which is located in Honolulu. Although many geese require water to survive, there are many groups of these geese that have learned to adapt through various parts of the island which are not in close proximity to bodies of water. With this evolution comes a stronger type of geese, as they have adapted to complex biological conditions.

The call of the goose is distinct and can be compared to a honking noise or a calling. This distinctive call has been called noisy and offensive but remains one of the most identifiable noises that come from various birds.