You might have seen these tiny birds flying around Hawaii Island rain forests. They quickly flutter from one tree to the next and blend in well with their natural surroundings. But did you know that there are only 1,000 of these Hawaiian Creepers left?

They mostly reside on the southern portion of the Hawaii Island, in a section of the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge. While they’re greatly protected in this sanctuary, the biggest factor to their near extinction lies in the small number of female creepers.

A recent study by the University of Hawaii revealed that there are not enough females to keep the species thriving. Because only a quarter of the Creeper population is female, the overall population took a 63-percent plunge from 2001 to 2007. That’s a huge jump down for an already endangered species.

The study also found that the bird’s downfall may be linked to the Japanese White Eye. Females of both species continue to compete against one another, leaving the Hawaiian Creeper the victim.

There’s still hope, scientists say, for the Hawaiian Creeper. There needs to be more wildlife refuges, like the one in Hakalau, and more awareness by everyday people, like you and me.

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