Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management
University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Email: owang (at) hawaii.edu
Raised in a suburb of southern California, I discovered my passion for birds and wildlife conservation as an undergraduate at the University of California, Davis, where I monitored breeding Northern Harriers in Bay Area tidal marsh and analyzed the migration phenology of Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks.
Upon graduating from Davis with my B.S. in Animal Biology, I worked as a field technician for non-profit conservation groups such as the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory and Point Blue Conservation Science studying birds ranging from tiny hummingbirds to feisty Red-tailed Hawks. I also worked as an environmental educator with the Solano Resource Conservation District, helping students build meaningful connections with nature and learn the importance of environmental stewardship. My interest in raptor conservation has led me to the Pueo Project for my M.S., where I hope to focus on filling knowledge gaps about the pueo life cycle and the factors affecting their reproduction, survival and population dynamics.
Pueo are the only endemic raptor species known to breed across all the main Hawaiian Islands, yet the factors influencing their reproductive success are still poorly understood. As a species of ecological and cultural importance, a better understanding of pueo breeding ecology is necessary to inform conservation actions, especially on O‘ahu where they are state-listed as endangered. My proposed research will be the first comprehensive study of pueo breeding ecology and will be accomplished by: (1) collating existing records of breeding phenology and ecology for pueo; (2) describing the breeding parameters, phenology, and nest site characteristics of pueo; (3) assessing how habitat characteristics at different spatial and temporal scales affect pueo nest site selection and breeding parameters. This study is an important step in predicting how pueo might respond to habitat change across the Hawaiian Islands and informing best management practices to maximize pueo occupancy and nesting success. Furthermore, this regional study of Short-eared Owl breeding ecology will contribute to knowledge of a globally distributed raptor species, facilitate global comparisons regarding how they have adapted to different biogeographical conditions, and inform conservation actions to increase abundance.