Manu-o-Kū chick with parent on campus. Photo by Katie Gipson, KCC Student.
The Manu-o-Kū (aka the White Fairy Tern or Gygis alba) is a seabird indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands. This species can be found across the Pacific as well as in the south Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Although listed as least concern on the IUCN red list, they are listed as threatened by the State of Hawaii. Because of this, these beautiful birds are protected by the State of Hawaii as well as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Since they are protected, you are not allowed to get near, mess with, or harm the bird, chick, or their nest. So, if you see one and would like a better view, please stay a minimum of 10 meters away. The Manu-o-Kū is a bird of interest for us not only because it is a threatened, indigenous bird, but also because they are the official bird of the city and county of Honolulu and the Southern Shore of Oahu and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are the only areas in Hawaii that they can be found nesting.
Currently we have a livestream up of a Manu-o-Kū chick on campus. These are our “ambassador Manu-o-Kū ” since they nest in a very open and visible area, which gives us the unique opportunity to set up a camera to monitor the chick 24/7 and allows us to see the chick grow and the parents care for it. This livestream is a part of a SCI 295 class which is an undergraduate research project that monitors the nesting behavior, activity, and population size of the Manu-o-Kū on KCC campus as well as some sub-projects that monitor the Manu-o-Kū chick’s growth rate and the cultural importance of the Manu-o-Kū within the Hawaiian Islands.
If you would like to watch our KCC chick grow up through the livestream, you can go to:
If the livestream goes down, please be patient! Those of us on the Manu-o-Kū project are watching the livestream as well, so we know when it goes down and will get it up and running again as soon as possible!
Mahalo to the library for their help and technical assistance. A special thanks to librarian Joy Oehlers for being so patient and involved every step of the way.
If you would like to know more about the Manu-o-Kū on campus, please contact Dr. Wendy Kuntz, KCC Student Project Mentor (734-9869 firstname.lastname@example.org) and she will arrange a student consultation. Manu-o-Kū nest on open branches and active nests on campus are marked with yellow flagging. Please let us know if you see an unmarked nesting tern. On-campus, the KCC students can help answer any questions or help with a Manu-o-Kū chick reporting or rescue. If they are not available, or if you are off-campus, please visit www.whiteterns.org for phone number on who to call to report a chick on the ground or nest disturbance. This website has many amazing pictures of the Manu-o-Kū and their chicks, includes basic information about the Manu-o-Kū, and is where you can get involved in the city-wide Manu-o-Kū citizen science project.
Author: Katie Gipson, SCI 295 STEM Experience in Ecology.