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From Rare Powers to Rare Species: O'ahu 'Elepaio


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Elepaio_Jack-Jeffrey.jpgThe diminutive 'Elepaio (pronounced "el-a-pie-o") had remarkable powers, according to native Hawaiians. Canoe-builders considered the bird an incarnation of their patron goddess Lea: If the bird pecked at a fallen koa tree, it was a sign that the tree was riddled with insects and unusable for boat-building. Farmers believed that this insectivorous bird was the incarnation of Lea's sister goddess, Hina-puku'ai, a patron of agriculture.

 

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