Hawaii State Bird

The Hawaii state animal, which is a bird called the "Nene", is a strange and unassuming fowl. The name is pronounced "nay-nay". Upon first glance the fowl looks like a cross between a goose, a duck and a quail, only the tail feathers are not as long as the quail's. One may ask why this bird, out of all the birds available, was chosen as the Hawaii state bird. Well, this is an animal that can only be found in the Hawaiian Islands. The Nene's feathers have been used for decades by the native peoples of the islands in ceremonial dress. However, before the turn of the century, the Nene was stalked by non-native species of animals carried to the islands by pirates, and so became almost extinct by the mid-twentieth century. During this time the state of Hawaii decided to make the Nene the Hawaii state bird.

Thanks to the efforts of the Hawaiian park systems, the Hawaii state animal has been able to reproduce in a protected atmosphere. The park system has ensured its survival by carefully cultivating the animals habitat by planting the plants it enjoys eating, and by sectioning off parts of the parks so that intruders will not harm it. Hopefully the rate of reproduction for this animal will increase, as the numbers have decreased over the decades due to the harsh environment forced upon it by predators. Early on there were only about 50 birds, but now they number between 800 to 1000. Due to hurricanes, some Nene have managed to migrate to Europe, but there the fowl have experienced a decline in health, and the zoos will not utilize these animals to reproduce others. The Nene that were freed from the cages in the storms became wild and have managed to adapt well on one of the Islands in a grassy area, free of one or two traditional predators faced on other islands.

The Hawaii state bird is of the species Branta Sandvicensis, and has been recently understood to be a relative of the Canadian goose via genetic research. Scientists say that the Hawaii state animal originally survived in a mostly wetland habitat, but gradually adapted to the stark landscape of the volcanic islands. The fact that this animal was able to adapt is a tribute to the heartiness of the species. Visitors to the islands over the years have introduced many animal species that have preyed on this fowl, and therefore drastically reduced the overall number of Nene's in the region. At one time, this species was even placed on the endangered list! However, thanks to the efforts of societies that are interested in caring and protecting this fowl, the Hawaii state animal has managed to make a strong come back. God created a great variety of fowls, for both the land and the air. In the Bible it says that God created the fowl of the earth: "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven" (Genesis 1:20 KJV).

Of the geese in Canada, only two subspecies are most closely related to the Hawaii state bird. Researchers first began research on ancient fossils, and compared the DNA in the fossils to that of the modern Nene. The scientists found close similarities, and began looking at goose DNA from other species to see how they were all related. The longer a species has been around, the more changes there are in the DNA over time. The Hawaii state animal can be distinguished from other geese by its distinctive markings. Unlike the Canada goose, the Nene has lighter colored cheeks, and gold tipped feathers. The Nene also has a smaller stature or body than other geese. Those who are very familiar with ducks and geese and their markings, however, should have little problem identifying this Hawaiian state bird on first glance.

Bird watchers will find the Nene to be an interesting study, and will also enjoy its call, which is said to be calm and soothing, unlike it's cousin the Canadian goose, whose call is quite loud but distinctive. Of all the places in the Hawaiian Islands to bird watch, Kauai is the best location to watch for the Nene. The Hawaiian Audubon Society can help out anyone wishing to discover all the best areas to watch for the Nene, and for any other Hawaiian bird for that matter. This organization should be able to give the complete history of how this species migrated to the islands, and how it has managed to survive despite the odds against it. There are even ornithological maps for those die-hards determined to discover this rare fowl in all of its glory. Studying this animal should be a treat not soon forgotten.

The Hawaiian state bird should provide many fun hours of watching for the kids too! There is no reason for children not to learn about nature in this way. This is a great activity for parents to do with their children to spend quality time with them, and to bolster their creativity and natural curiosity about the world. So take advantage of the opportunities that this wonderful bird can afford the family, and read about this animal in the encyclopedia, bird watching magazines, scientific articles and other educational venues before hitting the trail into the wilderness to observe. The research done before hand will only serve to enrich the experience and make the trip a memorable one for the whole family.

Hawaii State Flower

The Hawaii state flower is the yellow hibiscus but many others are native to the area as well. Some of these include pink cottage roses, white kukui blossoms, yellow ilima, red ohia, lehua blossoms, pink lokelani, kaunaoa, white pupu shell, and the hinahina. The Hawaii state flag has eight alternating white, red, and blue stripes that are representative of the eight islands of the state. In addition, the flag has a triangular standard that lies across two crossed spears. The popular mammal is the humpback whale. The popular bird is the Nene or Hawaiian goose and the popular fish is the Reef triggerfish. The state gem is the Black coral and the popular tree is the Kukui or Candlenut. Popular activities include sightseeing, hiking, fishing, hunting, surfing, swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

Rainforests are plentiful on the Islands providing assets to the state and its people. The capability of catching rainwater provides fresh water for the Islands. Most medications used today are derived from plants that are often found in rainforests. In this way a rainforest is an asset to all of humanity. Rainforests are primary habitats for endangered animals and other species. Within a rainforest is found the Hawaii state flower and other indigenous flowers that add beauty and esthetics to the area. God has created much beauty on this earth. "Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty" (Job 40:10). Black coral is formed from the lava rocks and are plenteous in nature. Within the rainforest are the Candlenut trees and a person will no doubt notice the state bird, the Hawaiian goose while hiking and sightseeing.

Volcanoes can be devastating to people, landscape, and the environment. Volcanoes have caused damage to the Islands because of the heat and lava flows but once the lava cools the indigenous plants can quickly grow back because the lava enriches the soil. Hawaii's islands have formed because of volcanoes and even today there are several active volcanoes there. Certain areas have to be closed off to the public when sulfur fumes are too heavy. The park areas are the most popular places to visit. The sights of tropical plants and flowers make the park areas an enjoyable experience for visitors and locals. The Hawaii state flower the yellow hibiscus is very plentiful along with the red hibiscus and orchids in park areas, especially along trails and on ranch grounds.

Whales are a popular sight swimming in the waters surrounding the Islands. The most common whales of the area are Humpback whales. A person who charters a whale watch will be aboard a large raft with others watching the whales in their natural habitat. Families and friends are encouraged to charter a private raft and share this experience in a casual but intimate setting. The raft setting allows tourists to get close up camera shots and have a good view of the whales. The whales can be seen normally during the months of December through April during their mating and calving season. The tour guides make the experience very real and meaningful as they share the history of the Humpback

The main products grown in Hawaii include cane sugar, pineapple, macadamia nuts, and flowers. Other agricultural products include avocados, bananas, coffee, citrus fruits, exotic fruits, ginger, guava, and various types of vegetables. Because of the tropical climates the fruits and veggies are grown all year round. In addition, the Hawaii state flower and other tropical flowers bloom all year round. Rice is the most plenteous crop grown in the Islands. Hawaii supplies large amounts of pineapple and sugar to most of the world.

Activities around the ocean attract a lot of tourists. Some of the most popular activities are surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving. A person will be able to enjoy seeing the tropical reef fish, green sea turtles, and spinner dolphins when snorkeling. Equipment, gear, and underwater cameras are provided on guided tours. Some other attractions with the ocean are sports fishing. The Hawaiian state fish that inhabits the tropical coral reefs of the Pacific Ocean is the Hawaiian triggerfish. The triggerfish is unique to the area just like the Hawaii state flag and flower are.

Ranches are scattered throughout the Islands and they offer scenic landscape views with secluded beaches and diverse terrain as well as activities that include horseback riding, hiking, and driving a 4 wheeler. The scenic view includes the mountains and the ocean. Some ranches are located around private beaches and fishponds that are hundreds of years old. Ranches on the Islands have facilities that can be rented for group events or parties. Parties that include tour activities are very popular and provide some fun things to do for guests. Tour activities include the history of the Islands, how the Hawaii state flag evolved over time, and how the area land was formed from erupting volcanoes.

The Hawaiian people are very patriotic and proud of their Islands. The Hawaii state flag is a symbol to all of the people of the sovereignty of their state and is flown on all state buildings along with the country flag of the United States. Hawaii became part of the U.S. in 1959 encompassing over 6000 square miles of eight main islands and many smaller ones. New areas are still forming from underwater volcanoes which will add to the land mass already there. Some of the tallest mountain peaks are in Hawaii which makes the scenic view of mountains, ocean, and sky a common picturesque phenomenon.

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