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Feral Chickens in the Pacific Islands

As I was visiting Pacific islands such as Tahiti, Samoa and Hawaii for the first time, it struck me that there are feral (wild) chickens all over; both in the countryside and in the towns. No-one feeds them regularly and they survive on their own in the same way that Pigeons and House Sparrows do.

Feral Chickens

How did they get here?

In ancient times the islands scattered along the north shore of New Guinea first drew canoe people eastwards into the ocean.

Feral Chickens

By 1500 B.C., these voyagers began moving east beyond New Guinea. As the gaps between islands grew from tens of miles at the edge of the western Pacific to hundreds of miles along the way to Polynesia, and then to thousands of miles in the case of voyages to the far corners of Polynesia.

Feral Chickens

These oceanic colonizers developed great double-hulled vessels capable of carrying colonists as well as all their supplies, domesticated animals, and planting materials.

Feral Chicken

As the voyages became longer, they developed a highly sophisticated navigation system based on observations of the stars, the ocean swells, the flight patterns of birds and other natural signs to find their way over the open ocean.

Feral Chickens

Included in their cargo were domestic chickens and, over time, many became wild.

Feral Chicken
Feral Chickens
Feral Chickens
Feral Chicken
Feral Chickens
Feral Chicken

Miles Hearn