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Lower Puna, Hawaii Island, bird and habitat surveys of 2003 and 2016

March 15, 2019

The newly identified rapid ohii death (ROD; Metrosideros polymorpha) originated in the lower Puna district and its distribution has spread across Hawaii Island. As ROD expands it is expected that the loss of the dominant tree species will adversely affect bird populations. This project is a first attempt to describe the relationship between the impacts of ROD on the Hawaiian avifauna, especially the native Hawaii amakihi (Hemignathus virens virens) an omnivore found in a wide range of native and nonnative habitat types. Amakihi was generally rare below about 1,300 m elevation (Scott et al. 1986, Reynolds et al. 2003) but recent surveys found that the species is resident and breeding in native-dominated ohii'a forests below 350 m elevation in the Puna district (Woodworth et al. 2005). These birds exhibit serological evidence of having survived prior malaria infections, and surveys show a marked increase in amakihi numbers since the mid-1990s (Spiegel et al. 2006, Hart et al. 2011). We resurveyed the lower Puna survey stations to determine the initial responses of the Hawaiian avifauna to ROD. Provided here in the data release are two tabular datasets containing the project's bird and habitat data.