Video Library‎ > ‎

Recollections of a Family Tradition of Bird-Catching

Education Modules
Multimedia Resources for Ethnobotany Curriculum

Recollection of a Family Tradition
Hawaiians developed a unique, exceptional, and outstanding craftsmanship in creating their featherwork with the use of endemic birds with different feather colors. Dr. Isabella Aiona Abbott, G. P. Wilder Emeritus Professor of Botany, recalls the demonstration of this family tradition by her great uncle in the mountains near Lahaina, island of Maui when she was a young child. He showed her how the birds were trapped with a sticky substance (e.g., sap of pāpala kēpau (Pisonia spp., family Nyctaginaceae). After the required feathers removed, the bird’s feet were rubbed with kukui nut oil (Aleurites moluccana) to remove the sticky substance, and then the bird was released.

Production Credits


  • Isabella Aiona Abbott

Directed by:

  • Will McClatchey

Filmed by:

  • David Strauch and David Reedy

Edited by:

  • David Strauch


Abbott, I. A. 1992. Lā`au Hawai`i: Traditional Hawaiian Uses of Plants. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, pages 105-110.

Supplemental Readings

On-Line Resources

Dave Reedy,
May 30, 2012, 8:25 AM