Hawaii Island’s first bird festival to highlight local species, planned coast-to-coast trail


Hawaii Island plans a new coast-to-coast trail for birders that winds from the ocean to high mountains and from the rain forest to lava plains. The 90-mile trail not yet completed kicks off with a first-of-its-kind birding festival on Sept. 24 and 25.

The Hawaii Island Festival of Birds will introduce locals and tourists to birds you can see only on the state’s largest island.


“We actually have birds here that are endemic birds,” event manager Lisa Brochu says. “They evolved here. They don’t live anywhere else.”

Three examples include akiapolaau, iiwi and palila, all varieties of honeycreepers.

The event also will introduce the birding route, called the Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail. It stretches from Kona on the western coast to Hilo in the east.

On the first day, festival-goers learn about topics like native birds, Hawaiian featherwork and bird-catching, and digital media for birders during lectures and workshps at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

The following day, participants will hit the coast-to-coast trail in vans to seek indigenous birds and learn more about the interpretive trail. Guests will be picked up at various locations in the Kailua-Kona region for the tour.

Other participants may take a boat tour from Honokohau Harbor in Kailua-Kona to scan sea and sky for pelagic birds that live offshore.


Tours run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $150 for either tour, which includes lunch in the field and an evening dinner at the Waikii Ranch clubhouse in Kamuela.

Info: Hawaii Island Festival of Birds


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