PHOTOS: Baby Nēnē Forage at Kahili Golf Course
Maui Now received photos of baby nēnē foraging in recent days along with adult nēnē at the Kahili Golf Course in Waikapū. The rare and endangered Hawaiian nēnē goose is known to frequent the upper elevations of Haleakalā, but they also have become accustomed to more populated areas in the lower elevations, with frequent sightings reported at both the Kamehameha Golf Club and Kahili Golf Course in Waikapū.
According to recent information released by the National Park Service, nēnē, the world’s rarest goose, are only found in Hawai‘i and are the last survivor of several other endemic geese. “Their strong feet sport padded toes and reduced webbing, an adaptation that allows them to traverse rough terrain like lava plains.”
According to rangers, most nēnē fly between nighttime roosts and diurnal feeding grounds. “The female builds a simple ground nest and incubates one to four eggs for a full month while her devoted mate acts as a sentry.”
Shortly after they hatch, goslings leave the nest and follow their parents to their traditional foraging grounds which can be more than a mile away.
At 14 weeks, nēnē can fly, and along with their parents, they join large flocks where they meet their relatives and potential mates. Park rangers say they usually mate for life.
Nēnē nesting traditionally begins around November, with hatching often occurring in December and January, according to earlier information released by park officials. In years past, the extended breeding season had continued into the months of March and April.
Nēnē eggs have also been found at both the Kamehameha Golf Club and Kahili Golf Course in recent seasons.
Employees of the golf courses train members and guests not to feed the nēnē, which is the official bird for the State of Hawaiʻi, and keep them wild so that they can feed themselves by eating new grass shoots.
Haleakalā National Park issue an annual advisory urging motorists to slow down and drive carefully in areas where the endangered nēnē goose is known to frequent.