Horizon’s LEGO Star Wars Collection: Ewok Village 10236

The LEGO Ewok Village is a large set with a huge number of minifigures and some unique design elements. I took the display a step further by modifying it with LED lighting, a forest backdrop, and also added a forest floor using additional LEGO pieces.

The Ewok Village is home to those cute and furry creatures that made their first appearance in Episode VI Return of the Jedi. This LEGO set has lots of great features including a tree-trunk hideout, a secret lightsaber storage space, a spider web, a net trap, a slide (located inside one of the trunks itself), catapults and a throne – where C-3PO sits and which also ‘hovers’.

There are rope walkways, interesting forest elements – like vines, and multiple rooms located on the tops of each tree trunk. The set measures 13″ (35cm) high, 21″ (55cm) wide and 13″ (35cm) deep.

The set includes the following minifigures:

Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, 2 rebel soldiers, 5 ewoks (including Wicket, Teebo, Chief Chirpa and Logray), 2 scout troopers and 2 stormtroopers.

Modifications

The first step to modifying the Ewok Village was to create a realistic forest floor using additional LEGO pieces. Most of these I sourced directly from LEGO via their Pick a Brick service, and from Bricklink. The key was to cover enough of the green base plates as possible with foliage pieces in a way that looked as natural as possible. I used the brown pieces to create the look of natural pathways through the forest.

To encase the entire display I used a set-specific case from idisplayit, a UK company that specializes in LEGO display cases. The case is made of clear acrylic and fits together using a system of clever screw fittings. The top part of the case is screwed together and can be lifted completely off the base plate.

I wanted to create a unique backdrop to the diorama that would give the feeling that the village was actually in a forest and that the pathways matched with the background image. I found some adhesive Endor backgrounds made by Diorama Decals on Ebay.

I ordered two of the Endor backgrounds and then cut them to fit the back of the display case. I aligned the LEGO paths on the forest floor so they would match up with the paths in the background image.

The final step was to create lighting that would bring the entire display to life. I used a set specific kit from Game of Bricks which included green LEDs and then used some additional flickering flame LEDs from Brick Stuff. The key was to hide the thin wiring as much as possible and also to make sure the LEDs weren’t directly visible so that they created a glow effect, rather than a spotlight effect which is too bright and difficult to look at directly.

The Build

I worked on the build over the course of 2 to 3 days, for 2 to 3 hours at a time. It was relatively straightforward, and each tree trunk was unique enough that it didn’t feel repetitive when building one after the other. There are a large amount of really interesting features and clever detail in this build and it was fun to put together.

However, some of the reddish brown LEGO pieces were quite brittle and I did manage to accidentally crack a few of these, forcing me to order replacement parts via Bricklink. This does seem like a common complaint for this set and it is something to take care with as you work on the build.

Installing the light kit was straight forward. The lighting sets from Game of Bricks are not my favorite as the wiring is incredibly thin and the lights are wired in series which means if one light doesn’t work the others next in line also won’t work. Unfortunately, this happened to me and it meant I had to get creative with the overall placement of lights.

My recommendation for lighting kits for other sets is Briksmax – they can purchased directly from them or through a third-party seller like Lighttailing. Briksmax has a better system of wires and connector boards which allow for more customization. 

Ewok Village 10236

Overall the Ewok Village was a really fun set to build. Creating my own diorama by enhancing the display with a forest floor, background and lights was also enjoyable. Using a display case is a great way to keep the set secure and also dust-free. This set is now retired and the best place to find it is on eBay.

Look out for future blogs on our LEGO collection. We have a number of sets waiting to be built and will feature them as they’re constructed. These include:

USC AT-AT 75313

Tantive IV corridor diorama (custom build)

Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder 75341

 

Look for these in the coming months!

Angus
Horizon Guest House

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Horizon’s LEGO Star Wars Collection: Millennium Falcon 75192

In the first of a series highlighting Horizon Guest House’s LEGO Star Wars collection, we take a look at one of the most spectacular LEGO Star Wars builds – the Millennium Falcon 75192.

The LEGO Millennium Falcon is one of the largest LEGO models with 7541 pieces. This model was originally released in October, 2017. The model itself includes all the details that have made the Corellian freighter so beloved by Star Wars fans. There’s plenty of amazing exterior detailing, cannons on both the upper and lower parts of the ship, 7 landing legs, a boarding ramp that lowers, and a cockpit with space for 4 minifigures.

There are removable hull plates that showcase a number of interior spaces, including the main hold, rear compartment and also the gunnery station.

Interchangeable sensor dishes allow you to keep the design true to the classic movies with Han, Leia, Chewbacca and C-3PO, or modify it to reflect the design of the ship as it was in Episodes VII and VIII with (older) Han, Rey, Finn and BB-8.

Figures include: the classic crew of Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia and C-3PO. Additional figures include, (older) Han, Rey and Finn. There is also BB-8, two Porgs and a Mynock.

Main hold: contains a seating area, Dejarik holographic game, combat remote training helmet and engineering station.

Lego Millennium Falcon

Rear compartment: contains the engine room with hyperdrive, hidden floor compartment, two escape pod hatches and an access ladder to the gunnery station.

Lego Millennium Falcon
Star Wars Lego Display in Horizon's library

Gunnery station: contains a gunner’s seat and a detachable hull panel with rotating laser cannon. Another laser cannon is located on the underside of the ship.

The model measures over 8” (21cm) high, 33” (84cm) long and 23” (60cm) wide.

Modifications

A light and sound kit, available from Brickstuff, was added to the model to enhance the overall display.

The kit is remote controlled and includes the following features:

  • Laser cannon lights and sound effects (both top and bottom cannons)
  • Mandible and side lights
  • Rear engine lights and landing lights
  • Magnet controlled ramp and lights
  • Motorized boarding ramp
  • Cockpit control panel lights
  • Circular Pulsing Hyperdrive light
  • Corridor lights and internal flashing lights

Check out the videos for the full demonstration!

The Build

I worked on the build over the course of a week and spent 3 to 4 hours a day putting it together. This was easily one of the more enjoyable builds as there was not a lot of repetition in the build process (apart from the landing legs) and it was a constant surprise to realize how large the Falcon was going to be as I built it.

The interior spaces were also a lot of fun to construct. The cockpit fits 4 minifigures snugly.

Installing the light and sound kit was a two-day process and required a good deal of patience when threading the wires throughout the ship. However, the instructions from BrickStuff were straightforward and it was just a matter of following each step carefully, making sure to use the correct wire with each stage and insert the plugs in the correct direction. Installing the motorized boarding ramp took a lot longer than anticipated.

Lego Millennium Falcon

The kit was missing the small magnet which triggers the light to come on when the ramp is lowered. I improvised with a magnet I found in the garage and this worked fine. Adjusting the motorized mechanism to open and close the ramp to the right degree was the most time-consuming aspect. This meant a lot of testing to get it to close fully and open all the way down. Once it was complete the light and sound features added a huge amount of life to the overall display of the Millennium Falcon. Definitely worth it if you have already splashed out on the Falcon!

Look out for future blogs on our LEGO collection. We have a number of sets waiting to be built and will feature them as they’re constructed, these include:

USC AT-AT 75313

Ewok Village 10236

Tantive IV corridor diorama (custom build)

Look for these in the coming months!

Angus
Horizon Guest House

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Horizon Guest House: How it all began

HGH 1997
c. 1997

Horizon Guest House began as a vision Clem had as to what would make the most dynamic and functional bed and breakfast. The idea was that it would be purpose built as a B&B, in which form followed function.

The land in South Kona was acquired from McCandless Ranch in 1994. The 40 acre parcel was originally a coffee lot. The coffee growing had been abandoned prior to WWII and the land eventually reverted to forest, similar to that of the surrounding ranch.

HGH 1997
c. 1997

Clem began the process of clearing the land in 1994. It took 3 months of bulldozing before the land was ready for construction to begin. A warehouse with an enclosed apartment was built first and this was where Clem lived during the design and construction phases of the main house and adjacent suites.

HGH 1997
c. 1997

Clem researched B&Bs for two years prior to designing and building. The most important lesson he learned during this time was that the average rate of burnout for B&B owners was 5-7 years. This was caused by two main factors. The first, that there was not enough privacy for either guests or the hosts, and the second, that it was never ideal to be reliant on the B&B as the sole source of income. Both of these factors inevitably led to a high rate of stress and eventual burnout for B&B owners.

HGH 1997
c. 1997
HGH 1997
c. 1997

Actual construction began in January 1997 and took less than 6 months to finish. The B&B opened officially in September 1998.

HGH 1997
c. 1997
HGH 1997
c. 1997
HGH 1997
c. 1997

Design Elements

The main house was built with the view and privacy as the main considerations. The view was divided into 4 quadrants. The northwest and southwest having the most desirable aspects, followed by the southeast and southwest. The pool was built at a different elevation in order to ensure that views remained unobstructed.

HGH 1997
c. 1997
HGH 1997
c. 1997

Other features included:

  • Custom-made 10 ft. sliding glass doors.
  • Built at grade unlike most houses in Hawaii. The roof and floors are both concrete construction.
  • The house and suites are insulated for sound and the individual suites are staggered to ensure privacy.
HGH 1998
c. 1998
HGH 1998
c. 1998

All suites have amazing views of the Kona Coast and their own private lanai. Click here for rates and here to book now.

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What happened to the sugar? The history of the sugar industry on the Big Island of Hawaii

Hamakua Coast Sugar
Photo credit: hawaiilife.com

Wild sugar cane still grows on the Big Island but the sugar industry was once a big part of the state’s economy, supplying sugar to the mainland and employing large numbers of people.

History

The first sugar mill in the state was built on Lanai in 1802 and the first sugar plantation was established a year later. By the American Civil War the demand for sugar was high. The industry was controlled by five main companies – C. Brewer & Co., Theo H. Davies & Co., Amfac, Castle & Cooke and Alexander & Baldwin. People were brought in to work on the new sugar plantations from a number of different countries including China, Japan, Korea, Portugal and the Philippines.

Hawaii sugar plantation
Sugar cane. Photo credit: hawaiiplantationmuseum.org

But it was the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875 between the US and the Kingdom of Hawaii that allowed Hawaii unconditional access to the US market and further fueled the booming sugar economy in the islands. Import tariffs were removed and what had previously been small scale sugar production now exploded. By the end of the 19th century hand milling was replaced by mechanical milling. The raw sugar was then shipped to the California & Hawaiian Sugar Refining Corporation on the mainland.

Sugar on the Kona Coast

The first sugar plantation in Kona was built by Judge C.F. Hart in 1869. By the beginning of the 20th century sugar was seen as a lucrative opportunity in the islands and Kona was no exception. At one point a railway line extending over 10 miles was built to bring sugar cane to a mill near Kona. The Kona Sugar Company was established in 1899, and the first sugar mill built above Kailua-Kona village a few years later.

Kona Sugar Plantation
The Kona Sugar Company mill. Photo credit: konahistorical.org

Sugar cane grew well at the 500 ft. elevation but the requirement for large volumes of fresh water meant it needed to be located near the Wai’aha Stream. The stream would eventually prove unable to provide the amount of water needed by the mill throughout the year and the company went broke in 1903. Over the next two decades other investors tried their luck with the mill but by 1926 producing sugar on the Kona Coast was no longer viable and the mill closed.

Interested in seeing the remnants of the sugar industry? The remains of the old sugar mill can be seen from the top of Nani Kailua and Aloha Kona neighborhoods. Along Hualalai Road, near the intersection with Hienaloli Road, large stone embankments are still visible, all built by hand for the railroad bed. The abandoned stone trestle of the railroad can also be seen in this area. The railbed itself can even be hiked!

Kona Sugar Mill ruins
Remnants of the old Sugar Mill in Kona. Photo credit: Donnie MacGowan
Kona Sugar Mill ruins
Abandoned stone trestle of the railroad. Photo credit: Donnie MacGowan

Sugar on the Hamakua Coast

The Hamakua Coast was perfect for the production of sugar cane. The area’s climate meant sugar cane could flourish without intensive irrigation. Large tracts of land were cleared in order to plant the sugar cane and it was often the native forest that was used as fuel for the sugar mills. Honoka’a and Laupahoehoe sprung up around the newly created sugar mills and plantations.

Along with the sugar cane plantations came great infrastructure investment. The Hilo Railroad Company laid railroad tracks at huge expense. There were over 3,000 feet of tunnels and it was this cost that eventually bankrupted the company.

3 Sugar-Cane Hawaii
Sugar cane. Photo credit: pandaonline.com

There was declining demand for sugar during the Depression in the 1930s but a spike in demand did occur briefly in the 1940s. The very end of the sugar industry in the area came after the tsunami in 1946. The wave effectively destroyed the railroad and marked the end of the industry.

Once used for sugarcane production, the land is now utilized by other agricultural products, such as macadamia nuts and tropical flowers.

Recent past

Sugar production continued on the other islands and as recently as 1980 there were 14 plantations and over 500 independent sugar growers throughout the state, producing a total of about 1 million tonnes of raw sugar each year. At this time the state of Hawaii was supplying roughly 10% of the sugar consumed by the United States.

The last sugar mill – Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company's Pu'unene mill on Maui. Photo credit: Joanna Orpia

By the 90s much of the sugar production had ceased as sugar became cheaper to produce elsewhere. Ka’u Sugar, the last on the Big Island, closed its doors in 1996. The last sugar operation in the state finally closed in 2016 on Maui.

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Shave Ice on the Big Island of Hawaii

Hawaiian Airlines Shave Ice
Photo credit: Hawaiian Airlines

The 100% Hawaiian frozen treat has become an iconic part of life in the islands. It’s a simple recipe – super finely shaved ice, drizzled with a selection of rainbow-colored syrups. And don’t forget, it’s shave ice (no ‘d’ required)!

History

Shave ice can be traced back to the original Japanese immigrants who arrived in the Islands to work on the sugar and pineapple plantations in the mid-1800s. They would shave flakes off large blocks of ice and then coat the ice with sugar or fruit juice (shaved ice became shave ice in pidgin).

Eventually shave ice was sold in general stores, including one of the first shave ice stores, Matsumoto’s Shave Ice, which opened in 1951.

Photo credit: Anuenue Shave Ice Big Island Hawaii @moonlitmermaid

The recipe

What makes Hawaiian shave ice so distinctive? Unlike it’s mainland equivalent – snow cones – shave ice is made with finely shaved ice, not crushed ice. This makes for a light, almost snow-like powder, perfect for dousing with syrups! From there the ice is shaped into either a cup or a cone, and drizzled with syrup. 

The extras

Shave ice can also be upgraded with plenty of toppings or extras. These can include, Azuki beans (a red bean and sugar mixture) placed in the bottom of the cup, a scoop of ice cream in the center of the shave ice, mochi balls, fresh fruit or even a topping of sweetened condensed milk.

Where to go on the Big Island

Original Big Island Shave Ice

1. Original Big Island Shave Ice

69-250 Waikoloa Beach Drive, Waikoloa, HI 
(808) 895-6069
Tuesday – Sunday 11:30am – 6:30pm

Original Big Island Shave Ice Co. takes pride in serving some of the best shave ice on the island since 1957. They use homemade natural syrup recipes and also have a selection of delicious, local-favorite toppings. 

2. Anuenue Ice Cream & Shave Ice

61-3665 Akoni Pule Hwy, Kawaihae Shopping Ctr, Kamuela, HI 
(808) 882-1109
11:00 am – 6:00 pm

Located in the northern part of the island, Anuenue Ice Cream & Shave Ice has been voted best shave ice on the Big Island for five years in a row. This little store has a great selection of flavors.

3. Scandinavian Shave Ice

75-5699 Alii Dr, Kailua Kona, Hawaii, on the corner of Alii Dr. and Likana Lane.
(808) 326-2522
Open Monday – Saturday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sundays 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

Known as Scandi to the locals, this iconic store has been serving shave ice since the early 90s. Choose from 65 flavors, ice cream or frozen yoghurt in the middle (ice cream is our favorite!) and enjoy your shave ice as you stroll along the picturesque waterfront.

4. Kula Shave Ice

57 Mamo St, Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 464-4821
10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Kula Shave Ice serves the best shave ice in Hilo, with syrups made in-house from scratch, using the highest quality ingredients and plenty of love and aloha. They also serve organic cold brew coffee, tea, açaí bowls, ice cream, and Waipio Valley Poi!

5. One Aloha Shave Ice

75-5711 Kuakini Hwy Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740
(808) 327-1717
11:00 am- 6:30 pm

Open since 2015, One Aloha Shave Ice make homemade shave ice syrups lightly sweetened with certified organic cane sugar and organic and local no spray fruits. Voted Best of West Hawaii for 2016 and 2017!

Photo credit: saltandwind.com

Treat yourself! Try one of Hawaii’s signature treats when you’re on the Big Island. Guaranteed to keep you cool on a hot Hawaiian day. 

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Hawaii Island’s Most Endangered Bird: The Palila

Palila Hawaii Judd Patterson
Photo credit: Judd Patterson via birdsinfocus.com

The palila is one of the largest living Hawaiian honeycreepers and one of the rarest. At one time these colorful birds lived on Oahʻu and Kauaʻi but amazingly they are now only found on very small area of land on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea.

Unique honeycreeper

The palila has a distinctive coloring, with a golden yellow head and breast, and a gray back. The wings of the bird are olive-green. The palila grows to approximately six inches in length. Its diet consists almost entirely of māmane tree seeds, supplemented with naio berries, fruits, caterpillars and moths. 

Palila Hawaii Hawaii.gov
Photo credit: hawaii.gov

History

The palila has been in the Hawaiian Islands for over 100,000 years. However, of the original 16 finch-billed honeycreepers in the Hawaiian Islands all are now extinct except the palila. 

Honeycreepers are particular bird species that have a heavy, seed-eating bill like that of the palila.

Palila Mural Hilo
Mural of Palila in Hilo

This mural (9ft x 12ft) was painted by Hilo artist Kathleen Kam, based on a photo by Big Island photographer Jack Jeffrey. 

Limited habitat

The palila is dependent on the māmane tree for its food source (it uses its hooked bill to open the seed pod) and also for its habitat. Unfortunately, this has created a huge problem for the palila. Because the māmane tree, which once grew throughout the islands, only grows at a 6,000 ft location on the slopes of Mauna Kea, the palila’s habitat has been greatly reduced. If there is a drought the palila may not try to breed since they depend so entirely on a good crop of seed pods from the trees.

Their habitat zone is now a 25 square mile area. The last count of the birds totaled 1,000, which was the lowest count in 20 years. 

What caused population decline?

In the past 200 years introduced species such as sheep, goats and cattle have destroyed a lot of the māmane forest that existed in the islands. Feral cats and rats have also had an impact on palila eggs and their vulnerable young. Introduced plants often replace areas that were once dominated by māmane, especially after fire or periods of drought caused by climate change.

Palila Painting Pamela Thomas
'The Endangered Ones' by Pamela Colton Thomas

Conservation efforts

A number of strategies are being employed to try and save the endangered palila.

  • A 6ft fence around Mauna Kea to stop sheep and goats from gaining access to the Palila Critical Habitat zone and causing damage to māmane trees.
  • All sheep are being removed from the Palila Critical Habitat zone.
  • Increased reforestation – planting of māmane trees and other natives.
  • The Keauhou Bird Conservation Center is currently breeding palila in captivity in order to be released into the  wild.

The palila has now been endangered since 1973 when it was added to the Endangered Species Act, while the Palila Critical Habitat was designated a special zone in 1978 .

Hopefully the strategies enacted to help save the palila and its fragile habitat, in particular the māmane tree, will enable the bird to avoid extinction. Find out more at restoremaunakea.org

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Understanding Ahupuaʻa: Ancient Hawaii’s unique land division model

Hawaiian Chiefs 3
Artwork by Native Hawaiian artist Brook Kapukuniahi Parker

In ancient Hawaii land ownership was overseen by the king. An island (mokupuni) was made up of a number of large sections of land (moku). Each of these individual moku were divided into ahupuaʻa (‘ahoo-poo-ah-ah’). Ahupuaʻa are narrow wedge-shaped pieces of land (like a piece of pie) that run from the mountains (mauka) to the sea (makai).

Ahupuaʻa would vary in size and this was dependent on how resource-rich the area was (an ahupuaʻa would be made larger in order to compensate for its lack of agricultural productivity). For example, Kahuku, which contains large tracts of lava fields on the southern slopes of Mauna Loa, was the largest ahupuaʻa on the island of Hawaiʻi with over 184,000 acres. Each of these wedges of land were ruled by a local chief known as an aliʻi.

Honolulu Board of Water Supply
Photo credite: Honolulu Board of Water Supply (Hawaiihistory.org)

Why was it called Ahupuaʻa?

Because the boundary of each section of land was marked by a stack (ahu) of stones where a pig  (puaʻa) or pig’s image (some kind of carving) was often placed as tribute (or tax) to the local chief.

Ahupua'a boundary marker. Photo credit: Thomas Tunsch, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Why was it created?

Each ahupuaʻa is considered to be a self-sufficient community. Those in the mountains or upland forested areas, would trade with those closer to the ocean. The slice of land would stretch from the top of a mountain down to the shoreline in a wedge shape. Rainwater would be diverted into streams in the upper valleys carrying the water down to irrigate the crops grown near the ocean. In this way it was easier to travel up and downstream within an ahupuaʻa than from one stream valley to a neighboring valley. This arrangement ensured that an ahupuaʻa would include fish and salt from the sea, areas of agricultural land for taro and sweet potato, and the forest – to provide timber for construction.

The agricultural system was divided into two groups: irrigated and rain-fed. Within the irrigated systems taro was grown and within the rain-fed systems, mostly ʻuala (sweet potato), yams and dryland taro. Other cultivated crops included coconuts (niu), ʻulu (breadfruit), bananas (maiʻa) and sugar cane (kō). The kukui tree was often used as a shade tree for the dry crops. Alongside the crops, Hawaiians kept dogs, chickens and domesticated pigs.

Local residents who lived under the chief’s rule would pay a regular tax to an overseer (konohiki) who would also determine how the resources in the ahupuaʻa would be used.

HAVO-Ahupuaa-Map
The division of districts and ahupuaʻa in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park (adapted from the National Park Service publication "In the Realm of Pele-honua-mea" by M.J. Tomonari-Tuggle)

Traditional subdivision system

The Hawaiian Islands were subdivided in the following way:

Mokupuni (the whole islands, except Kahoʻolawe):

  • Hawaiʻi
  • Kauaʻi
  • Lānaʻi
  • Maui
  • Moloka’i
  • Niʻihau
  • Oʻahu

Moku (is the largest subdivision of an island)

Ahupuaʻa

ʻili (usually two to three per ahupuaʻa)

Ahupuaʻa were not entirely self-contained. While they encouraged a high level of resource self-sufficiency for the inhabiting community, there was still room for regional and even interisland trade.

ahupuaa-boundary.ahu_Cypher
Stone ahu, marking the boundary between Kane`ohe and Kailua, at Castle Junction, Oʻahu. Photo credit: Mahealani Cypher Historichawaii.org

Ahupuaʻa were a way of creating cohesive community networks that allowed resources to be used efficiently and also meant the king retained effective control of the islands via a network of Ahupuaʻa chiefs.

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The cattle egret: Hawaii’s elegant predator

Late summer has brought with it the arrival of a flock of cattle egrets to Horizon Guest House. These brilliantly white birds have found a summer home in the monkey pod tree in the upper pasture. Here they roost at night while during the day they follow the animals, keeping flies and insects at bay.

Cattle egrets originated from Africa, arriving in South America in the late 19th century before spreading through most of the continental United States in the 1940s.

They were first introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in 1959 by the Board of Agriculture and Forestry, in conjunction with local cattle ranchers. The birds were an attempt to try and combat the plague of flies that were affecting cattle herds. The flies were responsible for causing lower than usual weight gain in cattle, as well as causing damage to their hides.[1]

In total, 105 birds were released across the islands. By the early 1980s their population had exploded to approximately 30,000 birds.

Cattle egrets typically grow to around 20 inches and are usually seen in large flocks, within close proximity to wetlands.

Our visiting cattle egrets have quickly found a home in the pasture with the horse, donkeys and goats. The birds are content to follow the herd as it migrates about the pasture during the course of the day. Typically, you’ll find the birds perched on the backs of Sunny (the horse) and Poncho and Lefty (the donkeys).

In this way they provide a useful service to the animals, feeding on the flies that might be bothering them, as well as any insects.

Nest predators

Their impact on other endangered birds though is significant. Cattle egrets are known nest predators. In particular, they prey on the nests of the Hawaiian duck (koloa), Hawaiian stilt (aeo), Hawaiian common moorhen (alae ula) and the Hawaiian coot (alae keokeo). There are even instances of cattle egrets taking prawns from aquaculture farms![2]

The original intention of introducing cattle egrets was to use them as ‘biological control agents’.[3] Instead, these birds have joined a long line of other introduced species that, having failed to solve their original objective, have become part of a bigger problem – causing disruption to indigenous fauna.

Control order

In 2017, a control order was introduced for migratory bird species in Hawaii.[4] This control order targeted cattle egrets and barn owls. It identified them as invasive and threatening to native species. It also concluded that these bird populations could not simply be keep under control by non-lethal means. The order sanctioned the culling of cattle egrets by state and federal employees of specified agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Recognizing the fragile nature of Hawaii’s ecosystem is important to understanding why such action is necessary. Invading or introduced birds like the cattle egret have changed the habitat of some of our most precious and endangered species.[5] Controlled culling of cattle egrets may be the only way Hawaii can safeguard some of its most precious residents from the threat of extinction.

The cattle egret is an elegant bird and provides a service to cattle and other animals, but it’s relationship with endemic species remains problematic.

References

Cattle egret. (n.d). [1] Kaelepulu Wetland. https://kaelepuluwetland.com/birds/cattle-egret/

Cattle egret: Bubulcus ibis. (2012, August 13). [2] Hawaii Forest & Trail. https://www.hawaii-forest.com/cattle-egret-bubulcus-ibis/

Fish and Wildlife Service Interior. (2017, August 24).[4]Migratory bird permits: control order for introduced migratory bird species in Hawaii. Federal register: the daily journal for the United States government. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/07/25/2017-15471/migratory-bird-permits-control-order-for-introduced-migratory-bird-species-in-hawaii

Gosser, R. (2017).[5] From solution to problem: the irony of invasive species. Ke Kalahea, (4). https://hilo.hawaii.edu/news/kekalahea/the-irony-of-invasive-species-2017

Paton, P.W.C., Fellows, D.P. & Tomich, P.Q. (1986). [3] Distribution of cattle egret roosts in Hawaii with notes on the problems egrets pose to airports. ‘Elepaio, 46(13), 143-147. https://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/paton/paton6.pdf

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