A Song From Afar

Length: ca. 4’00”
Instrumentation: oboe


The following piece is a fantasy on the song of the now-extinct bird Kauai ‘O’o (Moho braccatus).

Endemic to the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, the bird was one of the smallest of the Hawaiian ‘O’os, measuring just over 20 centimeters in length. The Kauai ‘O’o was very vocal, producing hollow, erratic, and hauntingly beautiful flute-like calls. Both the males and females were known to sing.

During the early twentieth century, their population began to decline. The causes of the decline were the introduction of different fauna (including domestic animals) and habitat destruction. Two hurricanes, coming within ten years of each other, caused the species to disappear completely.

The bird was last sighted in 1985. The last sound recording of their sweet, bell-like tones was made in 1987.