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Extinct Birds of Hawaii captures the vanishing world of unique bird species that has slipped away in the Islands mostly due to human frivolity and unconcern. Richly illustrated, including paintings by Julian P. Hume (many painted specifically for Extinct Birds of Hawai'i), it enables us to vicariously enjoy avian life unique to Hawai'i that exists no longer.
Extinct Birds of Hawai'i also sends a powerful message: Although Hawaii is well-known for its unique scenic beauty and its fascinating native flora, fauna, bird and marine life, it is also called the extinction capital of the world. The Islands' seventy-seven bird species and sub-species extinctions account for approximately fifteen percent of global bird extinctions during the last 700 years. On some islands over 80 percent of the original land bird species are now extinct. With the many agents of extinction still operating in the Islands' forests, Hawai'i's remaining native land birds are at a high risk of being lost forever.
Many birdwatchers, nature lovers, and eco-tourists are unaware of the tremendous loss of species that has occurred in this remote archipelago. Extinct Birds of Hawai'i, shows the bird life that has been lost and calls attention to the urgent need for preservation action.
Michael Walther became interested in Hawai‘i’s birds when as a young man he first observed the native honeycreepers that had survived in Kaua‘i’s remote Alaka‘i Wilderness area. Later, he helped survey Kaua‘i’s native forest bird populations. In his last year in college, the fate of Hawai‘i’s native birds became the focal point of his research. After graduating in 1995, he moved to Maui where he volunteered for The National Biological Survey working on a research team surveying the wild, wet and windy slopes of Haleakala. He is the author of four books on native Hawaiian flora and fauna and now operates O‘ahu Nature Tours – “Conservation through education”.