Why Do Hawks Need Hospital Care?
Learn more about the reasons that ‘Io are brought to the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center for treatment and rehabilitation. This introduction to ‘Io care will introduce common issues faced by ‘Io as well as give you a closer look at their treatment.
Video Length: 11 mins
The Hawai‘i Wildlife Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. If you’d like to donate to the care of hospital patients, click here!
The Hawai‘i Wildlife Center is one of only two organizations in Hawai‘i permitted for rehabilitation for all species of native birds (The other organization is Save our Shearwaters on Kaua‘i). It’s important that wildlife is cared for by permitted entities. If you ever need to check if an entity is licensed/permitted or an approved drop-off of location, you can check the DLNR page here. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife does a good job keeping the list updated.
Ambassador Bird Life at Hawai‘i Wildlife Center
In addition to the ‘Io that come in as patients, the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center also has one ambassador ‘Io, named Maka‘io. Maka‘io is a permanent resident of HWC and is included in educational programs with the authorization of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Permit Number: MBPER0039501) and the Hawai‘i DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife.
Maka‘io was rescued in Kona in late September 2019 with a torn pupil and a wing injury. Even though HWC was able to get him flying again and back in good body condition, the impairment from his eye injury ultimately affected his ability to hunt on his own and prevented his release back to the wild. Fortunately, his behavior while in care made him a good candidate to become an education bird. Kumu Keala Ching visited HWC to meet the ‘Io, and after experiencing the ‘Io’s personality and hearing his story, gave him the name Maka‘io.
Though Maka‘io will not be able to return to the wild, HWC staff make sure to provide him a good quality of life, including a varied diet, regular health checks and enrichment. He also trains with Dr. Juan to be comfortable on a glove and around people. Even though he is being trained to be comfortable around people, the public is not allowed to pet him or encroach on his personal space.
When not on the glove he is able to fly and perch freely in his aviary and do as he pleases. Because he is blind in one eye, he is used to the layout of his space and HWC staff are careful that things are in the same spot – like his scale, kennel, and dishes. Dr. Juan has been training Maka‘io to fly down to a special perch on a scale so he can get regular weight checks on the hawk without having to take him inside.
Training will continue to be an ongoing process. Maka‘io has his grumpy days, but overall he has been making amazing progress. Maka‘io has been helping connect the community to native species and fostering a curiosity of native species biology, conservation, and culture. HWC staff appreciates the service he is providing and want to create the best life for him, and do so in a culturally pono way.