Johnston Atoll

Johnston Atoll is a tiny former military base 850 miles southwest of the island of Hawai’i. It is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. For most of the 20th Century, the United States military used the atoll for submarine and aircraft refueling, nuclear and biological weapons testing, and storing chemical weapons such as nerve gas, mustard agent and Agent Orange Storage. Recently it served as a demilitarization and incineration site for chemical weapons. This has left the island contaminated with Agent Orange, aesbestos and Plutonium, to name a few. Now the atoll provides crucial nesting grounds for a number of bird species, including the Red-tailed Tropicbird, the White-tailed Tropicbird, the Brown Booby, the Masked Booby, the Red-footed Booby, the Sooty Tern, the White Tern, the Brown Noddy, the Black Noddy, the Great Frigatebird, and an assortment of migratory shorebirds. For the last few years, teams of biologists and volunteers have camped on the island in six-month rotations to combat and try to eradicate the Yellow Crazy Ant, an invasive ant species that doesn’t bite, but will swarm birds that nest on or near the ground and blind them through secretions of formic acid.

Johnston Atoll is a tiny former military base 850 miles southwest of the island of Hawai’i. It is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. For most of the 20th Century, the United States military used the atoll for submarine and aircraft refueling, nuclear and biological weapons testing, and storing chemical weapons such as nerve gas, mustard agent and Agent Orange Storage. Recently it served as a demilitarization and incineration site for chemical weapons. This has left the island contaminated with Agent Orange, aesbestos and Plutonium, to name a few. Now the atoll provides crucial nesting grounds for a number of bird species, including the Red-tailed Tropicbird, the White-tailed Tropicbird, the Brown Booby, the Masked Booby, the Red-footed Booby, the Sooty Tern, the White Tern, the Brown Noddy, the Black Noddy, the Great Frigatebird, and an assortment of migratory shorebirds. For the last few years, teams of biologists and volunteers have camped on the island in six-month rotations to combat and try to eradicate the Yellow Crazy Ant, an invasive ant species that doesn’t bite, but will swarm birds that nest on or near the ground and blind them through secretions of formic acid.

The Defenders

The Defenders

Land of the Lost Birds

Land of the Lost Birds