LIHUE — The breeding season for some of Kauai’s rarest forest birds is well underway and this year protection efforts by the Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Project will get a boost from a grant by Club 300. The Swedish organization pledged $5,000 to help KFBRP deal with invasive mosquito and plant species in the Alakai Plateau, a DLNR press release said. Non-native plants such as ginger, create areas of standing water where mosquitoes can breed. Those introduced mosquitoes carry avian malaria which can be fatal for native birds. “Avian malaria is a serious threat to forest birds,” said KFBRP Project Coordinator Dr. Cali Crampton. “The disease is spread by mosquitoes. Our researchers have been finding mosquito larvae in pools created by invasive plants like Himalayan ginger.” Native birds evolved in the absence of mosquitoes and they have few defenses against mosquito-borne illnesses. Avian malaria can kill them in just 24 hours. “Controlling mosquitoes is key to saving our native forest birds from extinction,” Crampton said. Before western contact, there were no mosquitoes on the Hawaiian Islands. Mosquitoes are thought to have first arrived on a ship that docked in Lahaina on Maui...