Hawaiian bird affects digital TV
HONOLULU (AP) -- Hawaii will switch to digital TV faster than the rest of the country to make way for an endangered, volcano-dwelling bird.
Most of the state will switch to digital TV on Jan. 15, more than a month ahead of the nationwide mandatory conversion Feb. 17. Federal wildlife officials recommended hastening the transition so that the Hawaiian petrel's nesting season on the slopes of Maui's Haleakala volcano won't be disrupted by the destruction of the old analog transmission towers nearby.
The nesting season starts in February, and the towers are being torn down before then, with new towers set up at lower elevations on the island for the early switch.
The Hawaiian petrel is a nocturnal, seafaring bird with a chirp that has been compared to the sound of a yapping puppy. Wires injure the rare petrels and city lights disorient them, contributing to their decline.
Biologists don't have an accurate count of how many of the species remain, but they estimate that little more than 1,000 nest on Haleakala, their primary nesting area. The birds don't breed outside of Hawaii.
I'm glad to see that accommodations are being made for the endangered bird. Hawaiian species have faced so many challenges to their survival that it's reassuring to see these efforts.
The Hawaiian Petrel link above goes to the Audubon WatchList, and the profile shows a red dot in the upper-left of the page. That red dot indicates "species in this category are declining rapidly and/or have very small populations or limited ranges, and face major conservation threats. These typically are species of global conservation concern."