Possible Oahu Populations Offer New Hope for Hawaiian Seabirds

juvenile newell's shearwater
A juvenile Newell’s Shearwater. Photo credit: Lindsay Young.

The two seabird species unique to Hawaii, Newell’s Shearwaters and Hawaiian Petrels, are the focus of major conservation efforts—at risk from habitat degradation, invasive predators, and other threats, their populations plummeted 94% and 78% respectively between 1993 and 2013. However, a new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications offers hope of previously undetected colonies of these birds on the island of Oahu, from which they were believed to have vanished by the late 1700s.

Shearwaters and petrels nest colonially in crevices, burrows, and under vegetation at mid to high elevations. They currently breed on other Hawaiian islands including Kauai and Maui, but were both believed to have extirpated from Oahu prior to European contact in 1778; biologists believed that occasional records from the island were birds thrown off-course at night by city lights.

Pacific Rim Conservation’s Lindsay Young and her colleagues used a spatial model based on elevation, forest cover, and illumination to identify potential suitable breeding habitat for both species on Oahu, then deployed automated acoustic recording units at 16 sites on the island to listen for the birds’ calls in 2016 and 2017, accessing remote mountain locations via helicopter. To their surprise, they detected petrels at one site and shearwaters at two sites.

condor-18-53_lindsay young
Automated acoustic recording units picked up the calls of endangered seabirds at remote locations on Oahu. Photo credit: Lindsay Young

“We were doing a statewide survey for these species for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of recovery action planning, but Oahu was not initially included as one of the sites to survey, since evidence suggested they weren’t there,” says Young. “Since we’re Oahu-based, we thought we would at least put a few recording units out to see if there was anything. And we were surprised, to say the least, that we not only had calls detected, but detected both species across two years.”

These could be the last survivors of remnant breeding populations on Oahu, or they could be young birds from other islands that are searching for mates and breeding sites. “Either way, it gives us hope that we will be able to use social attraction—that is, using calls and decoys—to attract them nest on an island where they were once abundant,” says Young. Oahu birds could help boost connectivity between individual island populations and provide extra insurance in case any one island’s seabird population is decimated by an event such as a hurricane. As petrel and shearwater numbers continue to decline, protecting Hawaii’s remaining seabirds remains a major conservation priority in the region, and the possibility that they’re continuing to breed on Oahu provides new reason for optimism.

Evidence of Newell’s Shearwaters and Hawaiian Petrels on Oahu, Hawaii is available at https://academic.oup.com/condor/article/121/1/duy004/5298327.

About the journal: The Condor: Ornithological Applications is a peer-reviewed, international journal of ornithology, published by the American Ornithological Society. For the past two years, The Condor has had the number one impact factor among 27 ornithology journals.

Congratulations to This Year’s Student Membership Award Winners!

Congratulations to the 2019 recipients of AOS’s Student Membership Awards! These awards provide one year of free membership to students who have not previously been members of the society. Winners, we hope you will take advantage of the many benefits of AOS membership and consider joining us at our annual meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, this June!

Fernando Lòpez, National University of La Plata, Argentina
Dilini Abeyrama, University of Lethbridge, Canada
Roxan Chicalo, University of Guelph, Canada
Matthew Fuirst, University of Guelph, Canada
Kiirsti Owen, University of Windsor, Canada
Marc-Olivier Beausoleil, McGill University, Canada
Ignacio Gutierrez Vargas, University of Costa Rica, Costa Rica
Pablo Muñoz, University of Costa Rica, Costa Rica
Priti P. Bangal, Indian Institute of Science, India
Patience Shito, University of Limpopo, South Africa
Stephen Edwards, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom
Garima Gupta, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
Kevin Krajcir, Arkansas State University, United States
Elliott Bloom, California State University Northridge, United States
Kristen S. Ellis, Colorado State University, United States
Seth Inman, Yale University, United States
Graham Montgomery, University of Connecticut, United States
Liam U. Taylor, Yale University, United States
Karen Gallardo Cruz, University of Hawaii at Hilo, United States
Kathleen Callery, Boise State University, United States
Patricia Kaye Dumandan, Boise State University, United States
Hannah Scharf, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, United States
Nicholas Antonson, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, United States
Stephanie Stanton, Western Michigan University, United States
Dylan Smith, Kansas State University, United States
Mallory Young, Louisiana State University at Alexandria, United States
Michael Rowley, Villanova University, United States
Eliza Foli, Western Michigan University, United States
Amber Ng, Western Michigan University, United States
Stephanie Cunningham, University of Missouri, United States
Taylor Heuermann, Villanova University, United States
Sarah Clements, University of Missouri, United States
Rachael Mady, Cornell University, United States
Marae Lindquist, University of North Carolina Wilmington, United States
Lauren Schaale, University of North Carolina Wilmington, United States
Leanna DeJong, The Ohio State University, United States
Aaron Skinner, The Ohio State University, United States
Daniel Stoner, Kutztown, United States
William Harrod, Allegheny College, United States
Luke Wilde, University of South Carolina, United States
Drew Finn, Texas A&M University, United States
Ryan Howell, Brigham Young University, United States
Lynn Walter, Virginia Commonwealth, University United States

Thank You to Kathleen Erickson, Outgoing AOS Journals Director

CaptureToday the American Ornithological Society is saying a fond farewell to Kathleen Erickson, who has led AOS’s publications since 2013.

Kathleen was hired in 2013 as the Managing Editor of The Auk and The Condor, working for the newly created Central Ornithological Publications Office, a joint venture of the American Ornithologists’ Union and the Cooper Ornithological Society that preceded the societies’ eventual merger in 2016. Kathleen was promoted to Journals Director after the merger.

Under Kathleen’s leadership, the publications team created a successful publicity program, increased open access to Auk and Condor papers, reduced author page fees, and kept in contact with more than 8,000 ornithologists through the journals’ email newsletter and monthly content alerts.

“Getting the joint publications office up and running was like creating a startup, and it has been the dream job of my thirty-year publishing career,” says Kathleen. “The ornithology community is a passionate and down-to-earth group of professionals, whom I will miss. You’ll find me out at Point Blue counting birds!”

Catherine Lindell Named Editor of The Condor: Ornithological Applications

Catherine LindellThe American Ornithological Society announces the appointment of Catherine Lindell as the 15th Editor-in-Chief of The Condor: Ornithological Applications, one of two peer-reviewed journals published by AOS. Dr. Lindell is an Associate Professor of Integrative Biology at Michigan State University and an AOS Fellow. She will begin her position in 2019.

The AOS Council selected Dr. Lindell to lead the journal based on her comprehensive vision for The Condor’s future, including plans to increase interdisciplinary and international submissions to the journal and involve students in the manuscript review process, as well as her commitment to diversity and inclusiveness in scientific publishing. Dr. Lindell has conducted research with a wide network of colleagues in Latin America, a region that is currently underrepresented in AOS journals. Her research interests include the ecosystem services (and disservices) of birds in managed landscapes such as orchards.

Dr. Lindell will succeed current Editor-in-Chief Phil Stouffer, who will be stepping down after six years in the role. “I’m really pleased to have the opportunity to continue the great work of Phil Stouffer and the AOS Council,” says Dr. Lindell. “We will keep building The Condor into the go-to outlet for research from around the world on the roles birds play in and across ecosystems and their conservation and management.”

“I’m excited that Catherine Lindell will be the next Editor-in-Chief of The Condor,” says Dr. Stouffer. “Serving as editor of the journal has been a rewarding challenge for me, and I’ve been lucky to be part of a great team that takes pride in putting out the best possible product. Dr. Lindell has the experience and vision to take the journal to the next level. I’m sure she’ll do a great job.”

“We hope that Dr. Lindell’s appointment will be the beginning of an exciting new era for The Condor,” adds Kathy Martin, president of AOS. “She is especially well-positioned to increase the profile of Latin American ornithology in the journal, and AOS is confident in her ability to continue this venerable publication’s journey into the twenty-first century.”

The Condor: Ornithological Applications was first published as the Bulletin of the Cooper Ornithological Club in 1899. It became The Condor the following year, and was officially renamed The Condor: Ornithological Applications in 2014, with a new focus on applied ornithological topics such as conservation and management. In 2016, the Cooper Ornithological Society merged with the American Ornithologists’ Union to form the American Ornithological Society, which now publishes both The Condor and its sister journal The Auk. As of 2017, The Condor has the highest impact factor of any ornithology journal. Dr. Lindell will be the first woman to lead The Condor in its 120-year history.


About the American Ornithological Society

The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is the largest and most influential ornithological society in the world. The society provides leadership in ornithological research and a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds and invests more in research awards and direct support of students and early professionals than any other society devoted to ornithology. AOS publishes two international journals, The Auk: Ornithological Advances and The Condor: Ornithological Applications, which have consistently had among the highest impact factors of the world’s ornithological journals, and the book series Studies in Avian Biology. The society’s checklists serve as the accepted authority for scientific and English names of birds in North, Middle, and South America. AOS is also a partner in the online publication of The Birds of North America with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. For more information, see www.americanornithology.org.

Nominations Sought for Ornithology’s Katma Award

The American Ornithological Society is currently seeking nominations for their annual Katma Award, which recognizes publications that propose ideas or test theories that challenge current ornithological dogma and could change the course of thinking about the biology of birds.

The award was originally established by the Cooper Ornithological Society in 2003 through the generous gift of Dr. Robert Storer, who proposed the name “Katma,” derived from the Greek work kat, which means “against.” The award consists of a $2500 prize and a certificate and is announced at the American Ornithological Society’s annual meeting.

“Why is katma needed?” wrote Dr. Storer. “Science moves forward by the production and acceptance of new ideas, yet it has been increasingly difficult to air new ideas in both the pure and applied sciences. Serious work that questions current dogma too often is stifled by those who are angered by seeing their own work questioned. Great katmatists like Galileo and Darwin are heroes of science.”

Nominees for the award do not need to be members of the American Ornithological Society, nor do papers nominated need to have been published in an AOS journal. Full eligibility and nomination information is available on the AOS website at americanornithology.org/content/aos-katma-award. The deadline for the current nomination cycle is December 14. Please contact info@americanornithology.org with any questions.