A series of loud caws distinctive in the midday chatter

I rush to the back of the house and into the jungle

With a camera in hand and searching eyes I see it


The Åga


A glimpse of black feathers among the green leaves

Colored metal bands decorating its legs

It jumps around as if to hide from my prying eyes

A dance to shy away from my attention

Then it stops—gone in the next breath

The shaky footage evidence our fleeting moments together

Momentary appearances reflective of their transient existence

Always gone within the next breath


Until another day


The Mariana Crow, locally and more commonly known as Åga, have unfortunately been facing a decline in their population. Listed as critically endangered under the US Endangered Species Act, the remaining population consists of fewer than 200 individuals and is now found only on Rota, after being driven to possible extinction on Guam with the introduction of brown tree snakes.

Mary Heather Jingco is currently an undergraduate student majoring in Integrative Biology at the University of Guam. Born and raised on Rota, she is interested in returning to the Mariana islands to study their threatened and endangered species. Her long-term goal is to become a part of conservation efforts within the Marianas, and with the passion she holds for protecting her island resources, she hopes to inspire other Pacific Islanders to do the same.