How to Help Hawaii’s Native Forest Birds

The Lost Forest of O'ahu
The Lost Forest of O'ahu
The Lost Forest of O'ahu: 6 species of extinct birds that lived exclusively on Oahu in the past.
The Lost Forest of O’ahu

After all the paintings I have done of native Hawaiian birds, especially the painting of the extinct birds pictured at left, I started to wonder what actions I could take to help conservation efforts.  Bret Nainoa Mossman (@birds_hawaii_pastpresent), a talented bird photographer and expert in conservation was kind enough to make a list of recommendations that I would like to share with you. Aside from watching for opportunities to protect the green spaces near you, you can use the following list of organizations and opportunities to specifically impact Hawaiian birds and their habitat through donations of money or volunteer work (listed by island). Thank you in advance for helping to protect our natural world.


The easiest aspect of bird survival to influence right now is controlling or eradicating the invasive mosquito.  Mosquitos were not in the islands until humans accidentally introduced them.  Decreasing the mosquito population helps the birds by expanding the habitat where they can live without the risk of avian pox which is very deadly.

UH Hilo Mosquito Lab Fund: Research and development of mosquito control–U

Conservation Council for Hawai’i: Focusing on coordination and outreach

American Bird Conservancy Hawai’i:  Also focusing on coordination and outreach.  If you would like to know more about what the current technique is for mosquito control, there is a summary on this page)

Anianiau With Orange Ohia by Wendy Roberts
Anianiau With Orange Ohia

A donation to any of those three organizations will have a positive impact on the survival of the remaining Hawaiian birds.


If you live on one of the affected islands, you could get involved firsthand in conservation. 

From Bret Nainoa Mossman: ” As far as volunteering goes it really depends on your level of experience and which island you are on but for Hawaiʻi Island, Palila needs the most help so volunteering with the Maunakea Forest Restoration Project is a good bet. Another great one is Friends of Hakalau. The restoration efforts on the refuge have really helped boost endangered bird numbers. These are my top recommendations for benefiting forest birds.”

Each island has opportunities for volunteer work. 


Maunakea Restoration Project:

Friends of Hakalau: Donations or volunteer work welcomed

Kauai Island Forest Birds Recovery Project

Maui Forest Birds Recovery Project

Pacific Rim Conservation

Hawaii 'akepa, an endangered species
Illuminated ‘Akepa
Thank you!