The Story of HWC’s First ‘Io Chick

Many of you already know about our new patient, a little ‘Io (Hawaiian Hawk) chick admitted to the Center on November 14.

The ‘Io was found in Wainaku and reported by a resident to a member of the State Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). The resident found the chick down on the ground and waited for parents to return. When the parents were not seen and it started to rain, DOFAW was called in to help.

Once it was in DOFAW’s care, HWC staff worked with a DOFAW staff member to attempt to return the chick to its parents. The chick was brought back to the area it was found and was monitored to see if the parents returned. Unfortunately there were no easily accessible perching spots to get the little ‘Io off the ground and it was reported that a minimum of five cats were patrolling the area, posing an immediate threat to the young bird. Although the optimal goal was to reunite the chick with its parents, high risks and the fact that the young ‘Io was underweight led to the collaborative decision to bring it to the Center.

Io wrapped up

The little ‘Io chick brought to HWC

After some time to rest, the ‘Io was given a complete intake exam by HWC staff. It was feisty, as it should be, and was provided a much-needed meal. The ‘Io was given the name Keawe in honor of local musician and longtime HWC supporter John Keawe. Keawe is the name of a southern star, said to be named for an ancient chief.

mealtime for Io

Keawe deciding if it wants to go for more. Its crop is already getting full!

The ‘Io is an endangered species, the only hawk in Hawai‘i and only found on Hawai‘i Island. Not only is Keawe being given a second chance at life, his care is also giving us an important opportunity to protect the population of these birds.

Since he came to us as a young chick, Keawe will require many months of feeding and behavioral enhancement to prepare it for adulthood and release back into the wild. If you would like to give a gift to support its care, please join the Keawe Care ‘ohana. To join the Keawe Care ‘ohana, simply donate a minimum of $25 online via PayPal, click “Add” next to Gift Options (under shipping address) and type “Keawe Care” in the message box. If you would like to donate with a check, please download our donation form and include a note that you’d like to be included in the Keawe Care ‘ohana (please note the $25 minimum also applies). Keawe Care ‘ohana members will receive a special photo of Keawe at the Center and a certificate acknowledging your contribution.

We’ll keep you posted on his progress!