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This critically endangered Palila offered one of the most memorable experiences of the trip, as it honored us with a very close encounter. One of my favourite birds in the world, this beautiful creature is the only remaining species of “grosbeak honeycreepers”, and is restricted to a relatively small forest on western slopes of Mauna Kea. They feed almost exclusively on the seed pods of Mamane trees, and a single forest fire or natural disaster could spell an end for this very vulnerable bird.

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