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#191 Kākāwahie


These are also called the Moloka'i creeper which to be honest sounds like the pet name of some creeping Tom the police are looking for. I much prefer Kākāwahie which is a very cool sounding name. It was said these looked like little balls of fire. I am only able to get the reds this intense. I have used 4 different reds plus a purple and brown for the shading, in many layers in order to get it as bright as this, and I doubt it does the bird justice. They were last seen in 1963, but there is thought that they may have been around until at least 1970. Their extinction is from unknown causes but it is assumed to be from the typical reasons for the extinction of many small birds of Hawaii. Things such as mosquito borne avian malaria and fowlpox, habitat loss, cats, rats, etc. They were also trapped by Hawaiians and their feathers were used in the leis and capes of the nobility. I just learned that my best friend who lives in Hawaii has a haku lei with some of these feathers in it. It is a "passed down from generation to generation" sort of thing. I don't know how long it was in their family, but it is obviously old, and an heirloom.

We don't really have any red birds in my area of Oregon. The closest we get to is a red-wing blackbird, which I like. I can't remember ever seeing a cardinal in real life but they are such a beautiful bird. It is hard to imagine that red would be a colour for a bird because it attracts such attention. You wouldn't think a bird that could easily be prey for something else, such as hawks and such would want to be so visible. I haven't researched if there is much study done into how the red colour impacts the lives and safety of birds such as the cardinal. Maybe I should. I can understand why insects or frogs might be red, because for them it means that they are not safe to eat. As far as I know, though, there is nothing about these red birds that makes them not good for other animals to eat.

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