News reached us today that an outbreak of Avian botulism has reared its devastating head in Kanaha Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Maui. The Forestry and Wildlife division, an arm of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, warned the State today. Asking all residents to be on the look out for symptoms of the disease in native Hawaiian wetland birds.
Since this naturally occurring disease was identified last year, we at our Poipu rentals have been observing our two pairs of endangered Gallinule at our Kauai rentals that reside along the Waikomo Stream. The malady is a naturally occurring toxin in wetlands that builds up in invertebrates which is primary food source for wetland fowl. Signs of infection include weakness, lethargy, and an inability to hold their heads above water and to fly. Resulting in drowning.
Our almost daily observations of the four Hawaiian moorhens in the backyard of Turtle Cove Suites has not revealed any such symptoms. I can only speculate if it is due to the constantly flowing Waikomo stream that does not enable botulism levels to accumulate in the birds food source.