'Alala, also known as Hawaiian Crows (although they're more like ravens), were once common on the Big Island of Hawaii. But the birds suffered from persecution by humans, degraded habitat, and disease, and by 2002, no 'Alala were left in the wild. Today, captive breeding is under way in Hawaii, and 2011 was the best year ever for the program. The total 'Alala population now stands at 95 birds. While a previous attempt to return 'Alala to the wild came up short, we await the day when conditions are right to bring the sacred raven back to its forest. Learn more at ABCBirds.org.
Hawaiian Crow - Can the ‘Alala Return to the Wild?
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote. [‘Alala vocalizations]
This is the voice of a bird held sacred in traditional Hawaiian culture. In honor of its remarkable voice, a group of warrior chiefs took on the bird’s name, ‘Alala, to perform chants. Known also by the name Hawaiian Crow, ‘Alala are really more reminiscent of ravens. And unlike our backyard crows, ‘Alala are highly adapted to life in the tropical forest interior. ‘Alala were once common on forested slopes on the Big Island. But the birds suffered from persecution by humans, degraded habitat and disease, and by 2002, no ‘Alala were left in the wild. [‘Alala calls]
Yet hope remains. Captive breeding is under way in Hawaii, and 2011 was the best year ever for the program, with 19 new chicks. In 2012, 15 survived to independence. And the total population now stands at 113 birds. [‘Alala calls]
While a previous attempt to return ‘Alala to the wild came up short, we await the day when conditions are right to bring the sacred raven back to its forest. [‘Alala calls]
For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.
Sounds of provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org February 2015 Narrator: Mary McCann
ID# SotB-HCRO-01-2012-02-26 SotB-HCRO-01b