News Release

Sea Life Park Asks for Community's Kokua when Native Seabirds are Most Vulnerable

Shearwater Chicks Already Needing Assistance this Season at Park’s Seabird Rehabilitation Facility

Sheawater seabird

WHAT: Sea Life Park reminds residents it’s that time of year to help our native seabirds! Federally protected Wedge-tailed and Newell’s shearwater chicks can be particularly vulnerable following breeding season—with October, November and December among the most challenging months. The park typically helps hundreds of seabirds during these peak months alone, and is already beginning to see chicks brought into the Sea Life Park Seabird Rehabilitation Facility that are in need of care.

These young birds can become disoriented by street and exterior lighting, putting them at risk for injury and predation when drawn too far away from their nesting areas. The community can help by learning the key signs to look for in a distressed seabird, and bringing any that are in need of care to the Sea Life Park Seabird Rehabilitation Facility. It is also important not to intervene unless it is clear that the bird requires assistance.

INFO: Sea Life Park suggests the following guidelines to assess situations:

  • If the bird is a hatchling (no feathers) or a nestling (fuzzy, few feathers) and shows no signs of injuries, it is best for the bird to be left alone. It will probably return to its nest. The bird may not have been abandoned, and its mother may be nearby.
  • A fledgling (with most of its feathers) is often seen on the ground near bushes or tall grass. It leaves the nest as part of the weaning process and may hop out to test its wings. Usually, the mother remains in the area watching over it. If the mother is seen, it’s best to leave the bird alone.
  • However—if a fledgling does not appear to have its mother nearby, or the bird has apparent injuries such as a bent wing, or is in an unsafe situation (i.e. a predator such as a dog or cat is lurking nearby)—these temporary care instructions should be followed:
  • Pick the bird up from behind, wrapping a cloth around back and wings
  • Find a medium/large-sized box and pale a folded towel at the bottom
  • Ensure there are holes in the box big enough for airflow
  • Place the bird in the box and keep in a dark, quiet place
  • Keep the bird warm
  • Please don't feed or leave a dish of water for the bird
  • Don't handle it, and keep children and pets away

The Sea Life Park Seabird Rehabilitation Facility cares for and releases several hundred birds each season. Those that are unable to be released, are provided a home at the Park’s Seabird Sanctuary.

WHEN: Sea Life Park’s Seabird Rehabilitation Facility is equipped to receive injured birds 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While October – November are particularly vulnerable months for native shearwaters, the facility is open year-round to assist distressed seabirds.

WHERE: Sea Life Park is the primary rehabilitation facility on Oahu, located at 41-202 Kalanianaole Highway, Waimanalo. Drop-off stations have also been established at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) office in Kailua, Feather and Fur Animal Hospital also in Kailua, Hawaiian Humane Society in Honolulu and the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge near Kahuku. These stations provide safe spaces around the island where birds can be dropped off if the rescuer is unable to get directly to Sea Life Park.

For more information, click here or contact (808) 259-2500.