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Dr. Patrick Hart Dr. Patrick Hart

 

Avian Biologist: I am an ecologist who studies birds on the island of Hawai‘i. Hawai‘i has some of the most beautiful birds in the world. Many of the native bird populations, however, are declining and in danger of extinction. I work with other bird ecologists to better understand the causes of this decline. We also work to find ways to protect the remaining birds and even help them increase in numbers. Being a scientist who studies birds is a bit like being a detective. The birds give us clues about why their populations are declining and what we can do to help. Our job is to piece all these clues together into a big picture that we humans can understand. I like this job because it lets me spend time in the forest surrounded by the birds and plants that I love.
One of my favorite experiences recently was flying into a remote rain forest by helicopter to survey birds and plants. Few biologists had ever been to this area. This area was also home to Pu‘u ‘O‘o, an active volcano. Our helicopter landed on a field of lava that was a flowing, molten river just a week before. Trees along the edge of the flow had been knocked over and burned by the lava and were still smoking. Just steps from the edge of the flow, however, the forest was untouched and beautiful.
native bird populations, however, are declining and in danger of extinction. an active volcano. Our helicopter landed on a field of lava that was a flowing, molten river just a week before. Trees along the edge of the flow had been knocked over and burned by the lava and were still smoking. Just steps from the edge of the flow, however, the forest was untouched and beautiful.

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