Hawaii will switch to digital TV faster than the rest of the country to make way for an endangered, volcano-dwelling bird.
Most of the state will switch to digital TV on Jan. 15, more than a month ahead of the Feb. 17 nationwide mandatory conversion deadline. Federal wildlife officials recommended hastening the transition so that the Hawaiian petrel’s nesting season on the slopes of Maui’s Haleakala volcano wouldn’t be disrupted by the destruction of the old analog transmission towers nearby.
The nesting season starts in February, and the towers are being torn down before then, with new towers set up at lower elevations on the island for the early switch.
The petrel is a nocturnal, seafaring bird with a chirp that has been compared to the sound of a yapping puppy. Wires injure the rare petrels and city lights disorient them, contributing to their decline.