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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Marvelous Millerbird Recovery

By Brynn Walling, USFWS

Aloha! Today we are taking you to the Hawaiian Islands so that you can get to know your species! Specifically, we are talking about the Nihoa millerbird. This species was listed as endangered in 1967, preceding the Endangered Species Act. Since then, a translocation project has been implemented to help the existing population flourish.

(Check out this video of the millerbird!)

Millerbirds are small birds, only about 5 inches long. The females tend to be slightly smaller than the males. They have dark olive and olive brown feathers with white bellies.

Until recently, Millerbirds could only be found on the Nihoa Island. Their population has ranged from 30 – 800 over the last 100 years. Since all of the birds lived in only one location, this increased their chance of extinction. A translocation project was put into place to help conserve Nihoa millerbirds and expand their range and secure their future. Two separate translocations were completed. In 2011, 24 birds were moved to Laysan Island. The next year, 26 more birds were taken to the island.

This translocation project has been successful thus far. Not only has it helped the Millerbird population, but has increased the Hawaiian ancestral knowledge as well. In fact, Nihoa has become a popular name among the Hawaiian residents!

Find out more about the history of the Hawaiian Island and the millerbirds role throughout by watching this great video:

Each week, throughout this ruby anniversary year of the Endangered Species Act, we’ll highlight stories of conservation success in every state across the country. Stay tuned!

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