Oahu Seabird Aid Program

Oahu Seabird Aid Program

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OSA Program Background

In November of 2017, the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center is launched a new project that provides aid to downed seabirds on Oahu during the peak of seabird fallout season. Each year young seabirds such as wedged-tailed shearwaters fledge from their nest for the first time. The species evolved to fledge at night and use moonlight to navigate their way out to sea, but with the arrival of humans and artificial lighting that natural phenomenon has been interrupted. The young birds can become confused by lights from airports, street lamps, buildings, and homes. In their confusion they will circle to the point of exhaustion or sometimes collide with these lighted structures. Once they are downed they often need human assistance to return to flight or else they are highly vulnerable to predation, starvation, or vehicle strike. The island of Oahu typically sees several hundred to over a thousand downed seabirds each year.

Because human-manufactured lighting has been found to be the cause of this annual occurrence, it is our duty as residents of Hawai‘i to rescue these downed seabirds so that they can return to a life in the wild. 

OSA Program Objectives

  • Minimize seabird casualties and collect data during the annual shearwater fledging season on Oahu
  • Engage the community in conservation of native species by disseminating information about seabird fallout events and recruiting transport volunteers
  • Collaborate with existing resources on Oahu to streamline a downed seabird response program and build capacity

HWC’s headquarters is located on Hawai‘i Island. Each year HWC has assisted with many calls from Oahu residents seeking help with a downed seabird. This year we are increasing our impact by again sending staff to Oahu! The OSA Program Manager will be on site from November 18-December 13 for the peak of the fallout season when dozens of birds are downed each day. The Program Manager, along with a small team of trained HWC volunteers, has the difficult task of rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing seabirds back to the wild. We expect to handle dozens of birds each day. A majority of Hawaii’s native birds are of high conservation concern, so each individual that we are able to return to the wild helps support the populations of these species and their role in the environment.

Get Involved

HWC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a small staff. We rely on a network of dedicated volunteers to help transport birds within the state. Community support such as volunteer hours and donations are crucial to our life-saving programs. 

Click here to visit our donation page.

Click here to learn about volunteer opportunities. 

Community Support for the OSA Program

Mahalo to the sponsors of the Oahu Seabird Aid Program!