Nene calling

A pair of nene on the Big Island of HawaiiA nene calls on the Big Island of Hawaii
When it rains, large puddles form off to the side of the runway at Upolu Airport. These puddles are popular with a variety of birds, including these two nene, which were in fine voice.

The nene, or Hawaiian goose, is the official state bird and endemic to the islands. It’s also an endangered species and people are encouraged to report sightings to help track the birds. Here on the Big Island, nene sightings are reported to Hawaii’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife. The person I contacted there, Raymond B. McGuire, gave me this information about the birds:

“All of the nene that have the gray bands (like these) are part of a Governor’s Proclamation to move nene from Kaua’i (where they were nesting in a golf course near the airport) to the Big Island and Maui. In total, the Big Island received 598 nene in a 5-year period (2011-2016), this more than doubled the resident population prior to the project. The bands not only tell us where the nene came from, but also the sex. There should be two bands on the nene. One is metal with a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service number (really tiny and hard to see) and the other is made of colored plastic and much easier to read the ID numbers (though the gray bands are not always easy to see on a gray legged bird). These gray-banded birds were banded by sex: males will have their plastic bands on the right and females will have the plastic bands on the left. These two particular nene, T86 and T87 were brought to the Big Island in 2014 and according to my records T86 is a male, and T87 is a female. They were brought as a breeding pair with 4 offspring. The translocated birds have been exploring the island more than the local birds have been. Although most of the introduced nene have been mixing with local nene and frequenting already established nene areas, we also now have nene frequenting areas that historically have not seen them or used to see them very infrequently, such as in Pahala, Punalu’u, Hawi (including Upolu), Waimea, and Kukuihaele!”

For more information about Nene and other native Hawaiian birds, go to

2 thoughts on “Nene calling

    1. Graham Post author

      Actually, the Canada goose is about twice the size of this bird. It’s not a frequent visitor here. There’s also a cackling goose (also not often seen here) which looks like the Canada goose, but is about the same size as the nene. They all seem to love golf courses though!

      Liked by 1 person


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