#267 'Akohekohe or Crested Honeycreeper

Critically Endangered

Around the World in 80 Days - Day 59

Had to get down to Hawaii again, even though it is not anywhere near the route we are on. There truly are so many critically endangered and extinct animals in Hawaii that I could paint only animals from Hawaii for the last 100 days. I won't, but it sadly would be possible. There are 172 total that are listed in those categories, though granted a few of the extinct ones likely are ones that went extinct before 1900. The biggest threats to these birds are avian malaria, logging, and the many invasive species that they have to contend with. They are the biggest honeycreeper on the island of Maui. They mainly eat nectar, especially that of the 'ohi'a lehu flowers. They do also eat the nectar of other flowers when they have to, and will even eat insects and fruit if they are unable to get the nectar.


They have many different calls, but I had to laugh at how one of their calls was described. They said it sounds like "hur-hur-hur-gluk-gluk-gluk-gkuk". I don't know if you've ever read Terry Pratchett books. Our family really enjoys his books and I am very happy that we were able to get some books signed by him before he passed away. The call of this bird just seems to me as if it sounds like someone from the thieves guild laughing while standing on the River Ankh while they slowly sink into it. Terry Pratchett died of Alzheimer's. My grandmother died of Alzheimer's also, as did her brother. It is a terrible disease. I have lost so many friends and family. One friend was killed in a bombing, one in a car accident on an icy road, many loved ones died from cancer, my long term best friend died from Idiopathic Pulmonary Hypertension, I lost a friend who had a hole in her heart so severe she called herself a "purple people", suicide, and many more. I don't know that Alzheimer's is not the most difficult one to process emotionally. Long before the person dies you have essentially already grieved their loss. When someone dies after a long lasting illness you feel a bit of relief that they are no longer in pain, but you feel the incredible grief because it is hard to not hold out hope until the last minute. With Alzheimer's, the person is not really there anymore by the time they die. You can feel incredibly guilty because you are shocked you don't feel as devastated as you may have when someone else died suddenly. It is normal. Please realize that you've already gone through the grieving process over a gradual period while you watched the personality, the essence of the person you love die a little bit day by day. You do not need to feel you are a horrible person when you feel glad someone you love is no longer suffering. Not everyone will feel this way, so if you don't, that is fine too. Truly, everyone grieves a bit differently, for a different length of time, and you should never ever let someone tell you that you have to feel a certain way. That said though, I just want people to be aware of what can happen when losing someone to Alzheimer's. I hate the thought that anyone would feel a monster because they don't feel they are sad enough when their loved one dies. That doesn't mean you are unfeeling, it only means you went through the worst part a while ago. Give yourself a break and don't hold yourself to any unrealistic standards you or someone else seems to want you to measure up to. Always be willing to talk to someone too, you should never have to face loss alone.

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