- Associated Press - Sunday, April 19, 2015

KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) - Volunteers banded 150 seabirds in Kapalua to track the population and study their reproductive behavior.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources says six teams encountered nearly 250 wedge-tailed shearwaters on Friday. About 100 already had bands.

The birds are known as uau kani in Hawaiian.

Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project Manager Jay Penniman says pairs may skip breeding during some years because of mate loss, habitat disturbance or other factors.

Penniman says the wedge-tailed shearwaters were among the first creatures to colonize the Hawaiian Islands. He says the birds provided much of the original organic material that built the islands. He says it’s possible they helped early Polynesian navigators find land.

Loss of habitat has caused seabird populations to decline significantly.

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