I'iwi

The Honeycreeper

Introduction

Chirp chirp,
I am a honey creeper. More specifically, I am an I'iwi. My home is in East Maui, in an old Ohia tree. I have flown over here to tell you about my life, my family, and my home. Please, continue reading, and forgive my grammar. After all, I am a bird.

Appearance

I am a very aesthetically pleasing bird. I have beautiful, red plumage all over my body. Native Hawaiians used to use these Scarlett red feathers to make the ali'i's capes. On my wings I have flat black feathers. On the small of my back, I have tiny specks of white. If you haven't noticed already, I have a long, curved beak used specifically for getting sweet nectar.

Diet

Thanks to evolution, I have developed an advanced ability to occupy a niche in my ecosystem. My long, curved beak allows me to get into those elongated flowers for the nectar. I got this handy tool over hundreds of years, with my ancestors slowly evolving into who I am today. Before my fellow I'iwi's and I gained this beautiful beak, we had short, stubby beaks that were used to eat seeds and insects. Nowadays, my favorite flower is the Hawaiian Lobelioids. The shoots of the flowers match perfectly with the curvature of my beak.
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Habitat

My favorite place to nest and live in is in the Ohia Lehua. These are my preferred trees because of its protective branches and it has food all over. I inhabit forests above the altitude of 600 meters. my friends can be found throughout Hawaii, but most of us reside in a few places. 99% of my population are located in East Maui and Hawaii (Big Island). I estimate that there are 605,000 of us living today. The reason the majority of my kind are mainly situated in two places in Hawaii is because of habitat loss. Since the arrival of man, we have been in a losing battle. Our habitat has been lost through deforestation and disease. In fact, our habitat has been damaged so far that we are on the endangered species list as vulnerable.
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Ancestry

A little bird told me (get it?) that the common ancestor of Hawaiian honey creepers was recently discovered. Turns out that my great great great great great great great great Grandfather (not really) is the Common Rose finch. My ancient ancestor is from Asia, so it had to make an amazing journey to get to Hawaii. It is crazy to think that it had to cross more than 2000 miles of ocean, just to get here.
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Restoration

Sadly, ever since humans have arrived in Hawaii, our population has been on the decline. Even today, our population is dwindling due to western diseases, invasive species, and deforestation. There are only a few options to save my species and I. However, the humans have been kind enough to explore these ideas. One thing they have been doing is fencing off our native forests. If they did not do this, then wild pigs would go in and tear up roots and form ruts in the ground. When it rains, these puddles fill with water, allowing mosquitoes to move into our habitats. The mosquitoes then infect us with western diseases we have not built immunities to, and we die. But, thanks to humans, this does not happen to me.
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