We evaluated the effects of three translocation trials on Common Amakihi (Hemignathus virens) and Japanese White-eyes (Zosterops japonicus). Trial 1 involved capturing birds, transporting them on rough roads for 4 hr followed by holding in an aviary for 48 hr without overnight thermal support prior to release. Trial 2 involved capture, then holding in an aviary for 48 hr with overnight thermal support followed by transport for 4 hr prior to release. Trial 3 and 1 were identical except that overnight thermal support was provided during trial 3. We monitored survival, food consumption, weight change, and fecal production during captivity as well as changes in hematocrit, estimated total solids, heterophil to lymphocyte ratios, plasma uric acid, and creatinine phosphokinase (CPK) at capture and release. Survival was significantly lower for Amakihi during trial 1 (no thermal support). Birds that died lost significantly more weight than those that survived. Regardless of trial, birds responded to translocation by a combination of weight loss, anemia, hypoproteinemia, and elevated heterophil to lymphocyte ratio, uric acid, and CPK levels. The first 24 hr of captivity posed the greatest risk to birds regardless of whether transport or holding occurred first. Food consumption, fecal production, and weight all decreased at night, and overnight thermal support during holding was critical if ambient temperatures dipped to freezing. We recommend that if small passerines are to be held for > 12 hr, they be monitored individually for weight loss, food consumption, and fecal production.
Additional publication details
Survival and physiologic response of common Amakihi and Japanese white-eyes during simulated translocation