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1923 USS Tanager Expedition

In 1923 the minesweeper USS Tanager took a scientific expedition to survey the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and record archaeological, meterological and biological data. Donald R. Dickey was the cinematographer on the voyage. All clips are silent and in black and white. Bishop Museum Archives.

The final call of the Laysan Honeyeater.  Click here to see the clip.The Swan Song of the Laysan Honeyeater - This silent clip taken in 1923 may be the last recorded image of the now extinct Laysan Honeycreeper (Himatione sanguinea freethi) or Laysan `apapane as they are now called. Rabitts that were introduced to Laysan in the late 1800's ate all the vegetation, leaving a barren wasteland, and just after this film was taken a strong storm came through and blew the last of the birds off the island, never to be seen or heard again. The harsh habitats on these islands emphasize the tenuous nature of survival here. These land areas are just small oases in the middle of the largest ocean on our planet. Habitat destruction, or modification by alien species can mean a quick end to the creatures that inhabit these islands. (QuickTime Movie, 600 kb)


Laysan's Flightless Rail.Laysan's Flightless Rail - Another extinct bird documented by the Tanager Expedition. Complete habitat destruction by introduced rabbits on Laysan pre-1923 wiped the species out of it's home area, and an introduced population on Midway died off from the accidental introduction of rats and mosquitos during the Battle of Midway in 1942. The last rail was seen on Eastern Island in Midway in June 1944. (Raozon, 2001). (QuickTime Movie, 1 MB)




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