Nene and mongoose

Two Nene and mongoose

Nene charging a mongooseThis pair of nene (Hawaiian goose) were grazing when they noticed the mongoose (above). A mongoose isn’t a real threat to an adult nene, but it’s a real menace to a nene’s eggs and chicks. Though these birds weren’t nesting in this area and didn’t have chicks with them, Their protective instincts kicked in and one of the birds chased the mongoose away (second photo).

The mongoose scurried off into the tall grass, then reappeared on the edge and took stock of the scene (third photo). But when it ventured out (bottom), the nene’s attitude hadn’t mellowed and another charge ensued.

Mongoose surveys the sceneThis scenario was repeated a few times before the mongoose lost interest and wandered off. Mongooses are very quick and will use this tactic of feints and retreats to wear out their intended victim. In this case, like the nene, it appeared to be more going through the motions in preparation for the next time it encounters a nene nest or chicks.

Two Nene face a mongoose

5 thoughts on “Nene and mongoose

  1. naturebackin

    Thanks Graham. I recall now reading about the mongoose introduction. A sad story about ignorant human endeavors. Very interesting that the nene were brought back into Hawaii from a breeding reserve in England. Nice to hear about something positive. I hope that whatever threats wiped them out before are more in check these days.

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    1. Graham Post author

      They still have the mongoose to deal with, but human impact, which was considerable, has been greatly diminished with protected status and educational efforts.

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    1. Graham Post author

      Well, the mongoose is the poster child for deliberate introductions gone wrong. I did a post about them, and the problems they cause, at The nene, on the other hand, is a long ago relative of the Canada goose which is native to Hawaii. It’s actually the state bird. There was a point when there were no nene left on the islands, but the birds were being bred at a reserve in England of all places. From that stock, nene were gradually reintroduced to the islands and despite still being a threatened species, they’re doing pretty well and there numbers are on the rebound. I see them fairly frequently. Just today a fight of four of them passed overhead, honking as geese tend to do.

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