Californians revere our chickens?

  • Dennis Fuimoto / The Garden Island

    Chickens, a cat and a car share the road in Lihue Tuesday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    This chicken has safely crossed the road near Ahukini landing.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kauai chickens have developed a sometimes-unhealthy lack of fear concerning cars and trucks.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Apparently, chickens very rarely make use of crosswalks on Kauai.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kauai residents and visitors routinely share the road with the ubiquitous chickens.

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.

4 Comments
  1. Thad Allen MillerAl January 3, 2018 3:12 am Reply

    All the birds of Kauai saved my life..
    JESUS. …..
    THANK. YOU…..


  2. Thad Allen Miller January 3, 2018 4:01 am Reply

    By tha way all the Birds talk to me.I fill in co snow sking and a bird started yelling out to see if i was ok.then another one was asking the same when i was back on the lift. .


  3. Ted DeMarce January 3, 2018 8:37 am Reply

    We come to Kauai each year and love to see and hear the chickens,, to us they are kings and queens..
    We also love the people and their attitudes. I feel the chickens send out an “aloha” each time we see and hear them….Mahalo Ted & Mary


  4. Adam Ayers January 3, 2018 9:08 am Reply

    Dennis

    Your scorn is misinformed and a bit ethnocentric.

    The concern is for human drivers, not for chickens. Any debris on a major highway is a liability to drivers who are traveling seven lanes across at 70 plus mph. Over a dozen, moving, flopping, running objects in the same stretch of road is a major hazard to drivers who are liable to swerve when a large object flies in front of them or strikes a windshield. That’s a recipe for a car pile-up with many dead or injured. The same action would be taken by safety personnel on the Nimitz Hwy.

    We don’t appreciate it when people from afar mock island ways that they don’t understand. Maybe best not to mock the ways of other in their local contexts, when you don’t understand.

    Adam Ayers,
    Kapaa


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