It’s one of the tourism peaks on Kauai right now. Just try to get a restaurant reservation and this fact will become self-evident.
And many of these visitors are from — you guessed it — California, a place often associated with wacko ideas and trends. Little wonder, then, that Kauai locals are shaking their heads, over chickens.
It seems California visitors are entranced by our Kauai chickens, apparently because chickens have a revered place in the state they come from. Why, just Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that California Highway Patrol officers were dispatched in force to a section of the Interstate 605 Freeway near Los Angeles to respond to a call of traffic bedlam created by a cage full of chickens that fell off of a truck, releasing the birds inside.
Valiantly, these CHP officers raced to the chicken rescue, grabbing 17 of them before they were run over. What they did with the chickens was not reported, though there is speculation that the chickens were liberated on Kauai during Hurricane Iniki in 1992 and took this long to get to the Mainland.
One tweet asked: “why DID the chickens cross the road? Because they obviously did not want to become ‘fast food’ on an LA area freeway, of course!”
The driver transporting the chickens was unaware that the birds fell off the truck and did not stop.
Feral chickens have long been entrenched in Kauai’s landscape — they have even been found along the Na Pali Coast on the Kalalau Trail and their images are plastered on T-shirts and hats at countless souvenir shops across the island.
The guess is there are hundreds of thousands of them. It’s safe to say, not everyone likes them and many drivers here don’t brake for them.
Can you imagine the reaction if Kauai police were spotted rushing to an accident to do traffic control and save chickens?
Seriously, though, there is a lesson for Kauai in all this. It’s nene breeding season and the endangered goose that calls Kauai home needs a little help.
If you’re driving — tourists, in particular — remember to keep an eye peeled for nene lurking at the roadside. There are numerous marked nene crossings on the island, especially on the North Shore. But these birds don’t get cars and roads and could be anywhere, ready to dart into the traffic lanes, often followed by chicks.
In a Facebook group called Kauai Rants and Raves, Kapaa resident Viren Olson, took time from her day late last week, to post this: “RAVE! To the tourist car in Hanalei yesterday who stopped and patiently waited for several minutes while a nene family crossed the road. I was very glad to see the respect towards our precious wildlife. It made my heart happy.”
There is no record if the nene saviors were from California.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.