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BirdNote: Mark Twain and Tropic Birds

05/19/12 8:57AM
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When Mark Twain visited Hawaii in 1866, he was able to inspect a live volcano, Halema’uma’u, which he described as “a crimson cauldron.”

Twain concluded his impressions of the hellish scene by writing, “The smell of sulfur is strong, but not unpleasant to a sinner.”

That eruption came to an end in 1924, and life awakened in the crater in a different form.

White-tailed Tropic Birds began to nest there, on ledges along the crater’s 300-foot cliffs. Then in March 2008, the crater’s volcanic spark rekindled.



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