The kukui tree (candlenut tree, Aleurites moluccanus) in the garden next to the Mughal Gallery is a favorite for Manu-o-Kū to nest (white fairy tern, Gygis alba) and a fan favorite of public tours who are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a newborn chick in the tree. These incredible seabirds native to Hawai’i are recognized as the official bird of Honolulu. They can be seen flying around most of the urban area on O’ahu. The most unique feature about these feathered friends is their ability to lay an egg directly on a tree branch…when the chick hatches…it holds on tight up until adulthood!
Last month, in the early evening, we had a visit from Richard Downs and Dr. Eric VanderWerf of Hui Manu-o-Kū. Downs and Dr. VanderWerf keep updated maps of the Manu-o-Kū population in Honolulu and help to tag trees with distinctive blue ribbons to signal that our feathered friends are nesting above and to be mindful when trimming trees.
Thank you to Hui Manu-o-Kū for helping us spread awareness about these native birds!