MAHA‘ULEPU — Another seven wedge-tailed shearwaters have been found dead along the Maha‘ulepu coast, about a week after 35 birds were killed on the cliffs above Shipwreck Beach.
Hanapepe resident Doug Lomenzo says he was hiking along the Heritage Trail in Maha‘ulepu with some friends on Monday when they discovered the birds.
“We saw at least seven freshly killed shearwaters in our short time on the trail, but there could very well be many more as we just stayed along one path,” Lomenzo said.
These birds appear to have been decapitated, and were found lying just outside their burrows. They were found strewn along the cliffside path, just like the 35 that were discovered earlier this month.
Considering the location and timing of the discovery, Lomenzo said he and his friends are “seriously concerned for these birds’ futures,” even though they’re not on the Endangered Species List.
“It seems that this bird population is continuously damaged by animal attacks,” Lomenzo said.
Photos taken during the recent report of dead birds show birds with down feathers, indicating they’re chicks that were getting closer to fledging as well.
Lomenzo said Wednesday he hadn’t reported his finding to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources or any other agencies.
Kauai resident Kit Furderer reported the first November discovery of dead wedge-tailed shearwaters at Maha‘ulepu, and he immediately documented the scene and then reported the carcasses to the Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project.
Wedge-tailed shearwaters are common in Hawaii, but are vulnerable to predation by cats, dogs, rats and other predators. They nest in high-elevation, seaside burrows.
According to KESRP and DLNR, the first report of those dead birds brought the number of wedge-tailed shearwaters killed on Kauai by off-leash dogs or feral cats to around 150.