SCARCE NATIVE OWLS ARE FOUND IN KALIHI VALLEY
THE HAWAIIAN OWL. Photo by Williams.
A NEST of four baby owls was discovered about three months ago by Dr. George Huddy in the Kalihi valley behind his residence. The discovery of the quartette of owlets is important in that few of the species have been found in late years. Three of them died shortly after being taken into captivity, but the oldest of the lot lived and is growing into a fine bird, and is at present about the size of a small pullet. He is thoroughly domesticated and makes himself perfectly at home in the residence of Dr. Huddy, mingling with the people without fear.
The three dead ones were taken in charge by Mr. Bryan, Professor Brigham’s assistant at the Bishop Museum, and they are now stuffed and form a group with one brought to the museum about four years ago. It has been said at the museum that the owls are exceedingly rare and are valuable in the preserved state for the museum.
The pet eats mice as well as raw meat. Dr. Huddy was quite troubled as to the manner in which the owl digested the bones and was rewarded a short time ago when the owl retired to a corner and began retching. Soon a quantity of bones issued from his throat, and the youngster then resumed his eating of further food.
The owl is of the “horned” species. When approached by some one he does not know two groups of feathers on the back rise upward in a threatening manner and remain in that position until the stranger retires. If it is some one he knows the feathers fall back and he courts their attention.
The owner of the rare bird states that none of his family have known of the existence of such owls in the Kalihi valley for the past forty years. They were at one time plentiful. The native for the owl is pueo. When fully grown it is the size of a large hen or the alala, or crow. Its feathers are mottled, its eyes exceedingly large and the claws are sharp like those of a cat. In appearance the owl’s head is very much like that of a cat. It catches mice, small birds and young chickens, on which it lives. The feathers were formerly made into very handsome kahilis.
In ancient times the owl was thought to be a god and was worshipped by multitudes. Some families looked upon the appearance of an owl near their habitation as a warning of approaching death; others as the coming of good luck. On the hills back of Kalapu, in Manoa Valley, beyond the bluff on which the Castle residence is located, owls once inhabited the caves in great numbers.
One of the legends of Manoa Valley gives the owl great prominence as god. The legend of Kahalaopuna shows that the owl was looked upon as such, a certain owl being known as the guardian of the beautiful maiden.
[Does anyone know of kahili made with pueo feathers?]
(Hawaiian Gazette, 2/11/1902, p. 5)
Did you ever hear or find out anything about kāhili made with pueo feathers since posting this?
Malo (1951) said that Pueo feathers were made into the finest high-quality kahili. I did my Masterʻs thesis on Indigenous Knowledge of Pueo (from Nūpepa) so feel free to connect with me for all your Pueo-related needs.