ʻAlalā Love, by Caren Loebel-Fried, is a hand-colored block print that was inspired by a photo taken by Jack Jeffrey. The art was originally created for the Hawaiʻi Island Festival of Birds. Although the ʻAlalā are officially extinct in the wild, many organizations are working hard to restore them to their native habitat through a conservation breeding program. Their efforts, combined with habitat restoration and the control of introduced predators, have led to the recent release of some ʻAlalā into Puʻu Makaʻala Natural Area Reserve on the island of Hawaiʻi. For more information about this rare bird, visit AlalaProject.org
Slightly larger than the American Crow, ‘Alalā have brownish black plumage that may shine in sunlight or look mysterious in the shade. They have large and impressive fruit-stripping and seed-cracking bills and long, bristly throat feathers that can be puffed up or smoothed down, depending on their mood. They are a key part of the forest habitat as dispersers of native fruit seeds. Intelligent and charismatic birds with a regal air, they are held in high regard in Hawaiian culture as ‘aumakua, or deified ancestors.