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Hawaii Island Festival of Birds Adds to Event Schedule

The second annual Hawai’i Island Festival of Birds has enhanced its event and speaker lineup. The Festival, scheduled for the weekend of September 15-16, includes an all-day Bird Fair on Saturday at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay, and field trips on Friday and Sunday.

Saturday’s Bird Fair, including special programs for children, will be highlighted by talks from expert guest speakers Jeff Gordon, President of the American Birding Association, Dr. Eric Vanderwerf, President of Pacific Rim Conservation, and a panel discussion on the last sightings of now-extinct endemic Hawai’i birds.

Noah Gomes, a recent graduate of the University of Hawai’i with a M.A. in Hawaiian Language and Literature will share his research on the ancient bird hunters of the Hawaiian archipelago. Attendees can also learn and shop at 20+ vendor booths from 9am to 3pm. In addition, now joining Saturday’s Bird Fair booths will be famed Japanese bird carver and inlay artist, Haruo Uchiyama, who will be displaying his bird carvings of Hawaiian honeycreepers as well as selling his bird wood inlay artwork and pins that he is bringing with him from Japan.

Mayor Harry Kim, a bird enthusiast, will welcome Bird Fair attendees at noon, and Suzanne Case, Chair of the Department of Land & Natural Resources will officially launch the Hawai’i Island Birding Trail’s new website.

Photo by Jack Jeffrey

Saturday’s Bird Fair options include Birding 101 class by renowned mainland author, artist and conservationists, Kenn and Kim Kaufman; a workshop on eBird by Brian Sullivan, project leader for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology; a hands-on Photography Workshop with professional photographer Jack Jeffrey; and an art workshop with California artist Catherine Hamilton. Materials will be provided.

“We are very pleased with the excellent reception we’ve had so far,” said Rob Pacheco, Hawaii Forest & Trail President and Festival volunteer. “Not only are we enrolling participants from Hawai’i, but birders from across the U.S. Mainland and Internationally have already registered via our website. The Festival is a boon to Hawai’i tourism, and it also will give our keiki (children) a chance to learn more about the nature of Hawai’i, with the help of experts who will be joining us to teach at the Festival.”

On Friday and Sunday, Festival participants will be able to take part in guided birdwatching field trips along the newly created Hawai’i Island Birding Trail, and in guided boat trips departing from Honokohau Harbor to observe seabirds. The 90-mile Hawai’i Island Birding Trail is a cross-island link from Kona (on the west coast) to Hilo (on the east coast) that connects diverse habitats from ocean to mountain top, rainforest to lava plains.

The self-guided Hawai’i Island Birding Trail, modeled after similar North American trails, follows a network of sites so users can take in all or any part of the route along the way. Locating and observing birds is, of course, the main event on the Trail, but discovering Hawai’i Island’s unique plants and trees, geology, history and scenic viewpoints are also emphasized.

Friday afternoon’s program at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay includes a film festival and panel discussion focusing on the conservation of Hawai’i’s birds, and the topics portrayed by the films shown. The series of short films include Endangered Hawaii from the American Bird Conservancy, The Endangered Forest Birds of Hawaii from DLNR, Struggle for Existence by Laurie Sumiye and Archives of Extinction by Alyse Takayesu.

A detailed schedule of events is available at birdfesthawaii.org.

Sponsors of the Hawai’i Island Festival of Birds include Hawai’i Tourism Authority, County of Hawai’i, Hawaii Forest & Trail, Destination Marketing, Hawai’i Wildlife Center and Alaska Airlines.

Second Annual Hawaii Island Festival of Birds Announced

Program dates for the Second Annual Hawaii Island Festival of Birds have been announced as September 15 – 17, 2017 and will once again be headquartered at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

The Festival program will feature expert guest speakers Jeff Gordon, President of the American Birding Association, and Kenn Kaufman, renowned author, artist and conservationist along with a trade show for outdoor and birding equipment, children’s corner, bird-themed arts and crafts fair, photography and painting workshops, a birding film festival, and time to interact with Hawaii Island naturalists and bird experts. Guided field trips on land and sea will be included in the program offering.

Birdwatching! Photo by Lance Tanino

Festival participants will be able to take part in guided birdwatching field trips along the newly created Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail, and in guided boat trips departing from Honokohau Harbor to observe seabirds.  The 90-mile Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail is a cross-island link from Kona (on the west coast) to Hilo (on the east coast) that connects diverse habitats from ocean to mountain top, rainforest to lava plains.  The self-guided Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail, modeled after similar North American trails, follows a network of sites so users can take in all or any part of the route along the way. Locating and observing birds is, of course, the main event on the Trail, but discovering Hawaii Island’s unique plants and trees, geology, history and scenic view points are also emphasized.

Palila photo by Jack Jeffrey

New this year will be a birding-focused film festival on Friday (September 15) with documentaries about Hawaiian birds showing on Friday afternoon plus a feature film playing outdoors on Friday night.  Saturday’s workshops will include an expert talk from Brian Sullivan, project leader for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for eBird.org, and a panel discussion by naturalists and biologists of their last sightings of now extinct Hawaiian birds.

Photo by Jack Jeffrey

Saturday’s program options include a hands-on Photography Workshop and an Art Workshop with materials provided.  Saturday night’s Gala Dinner will be headlined by Kenn Kaufman speaking on the significance of Hawaii’s unique bird life. Detailed schedule of events is available at birdfesthawaii.org

New American Birding Association Recognition

Following last year’s inaugural Hawaii Island Festival of Birds, members of the American Birding Association voted overwhelming to add Hawaii to the ABA Area. For birders, this is huge as it has the potential to add substantially to the official ABA Area Checklist. There are at least 320 bird species documented in the Hawaiian Islands, of which 30 endemics remain. “There’s so much to learn about Hawaii’s native birds,” said Rob Pacheco, founder of Hawaii Forest & Trail and a member of the Festival’s organizing committee. “And we’re thrilled that Hawaii is now recognized as part of the ABA Area by the American Birding Association. We look forward to welcoming ABA’s members, and birding fans in general, to Hawaii and the Hawaii Island Festival of Birds.”

Sponsors of the Hawaii Island Festival of Birds include Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Hawaii, Hawaii Forest & Trail, Destination Marketing, Hawaii Wildlife Center and Alaska Airlines.

Hawaii Island Festival of Birds Welcomes All

The Hawai’i Island Festival of Birds – Ha`akula Manu – is pleased to announce that, thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, local keiki (children) 15 and under accompanied by an adult with a paid general admission ticket can attend the festival for FREE!  Adult entry is $10 and includes $5 of Birdie Bucks coupons that can be spent on items at the vendor booths and silent auction.

Bird Festival 2016The Hawai’i Island Festival of Birds is an opportunity for Big Island keiki to increase their knowledge of birds and their habitats. The festival will highlight the important role played by birds in Hawaiian culture, the need to preserve and restore our island’s unique habitats critical to these birds’ survival, and help children learn that birding is a just like a real life, fun version of Pokemon-Go!

The Festival, scheduled for the weekend of September 24-25 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay, includes on-site events on Saturday and field trips on Sunday. The Saturday, September 24 events held at the Sheraton Kona will include educational seminars, bird-related trade and arts booths, and fun activities for the whole family. The seminars will be stimulating for adults and teens, while younger ones will enjoy the hands-on activities related to Hawaii’s unique birds. General admission tickets can be purchased at the door.

Sunday activities include guided birdwatching field trips hosted by Hawaii Forest & Trail, a bird photography tour hosted by Jack Jeffrey, and a guided boat trip out of Honokohau Harbor to watch seabirds with on-board pelagic leaders Lance Tanino, Brian Sullivan and Mike Scott. Tours are already discounted to $150 with no additional discount for keiki or kama’aina. Space is limited on field trips, so register now if you would like to take advantage of this great deal (includes transportation, lunch, dinner, and guides).

Here are a few of the family-oriented activities everyone can participate in at the Festival:

  • Build a Bird Contest – Create a unique bird out of supplied materials to keep or enter into a contest to win a T-shirt.
  • Birdwatching Basics – Here’s how to get started on a new hobby that can turn into a lifelong passion (may also be used as partial fulfillment for Scout merit badge requirements).
  • Where in the World? – See if you can identify the original homes of our island birds (hint: some are found only here in Hawaii!).
  • Trivial Pursuit – Our own island bird edition.
  • Birds and Beaks – Take a close-up look at how the beaks of our island birds are adapted for the foods they find here.

“The Hawai’i Island Festival of Birds, with the help of experts who will be joining us to teach, will give our keiki a chance to learn more about the birds of Hawaii,” said Hawaii Forest & Trails’s Rob Pacheco.  “The learning is just a first step though.  Through learning, kids gain an appreciation and develop a fascination with birds, which then, often leads to a lifelong affair with nature.”

Festival sponsors include Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Hawaii, Alaska Airlines, Audubon Magazine, Hawaii Forest and Trail, Destination Marketing Hawaii and others.

For more information and Festival registration, please visit the website hawaiibirdingtrails.com.

Hawaii Island Festival of Birds Adds Events

The Hawai’i Island Festival of Birds has added more events and speakers to its plans. The Festival, scheduled for the weekend of September 24-25 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay, includes on site events on Saturday and field trips on Sunday.

Photo by Jack Jeffrey

Photo by Jack Jeffrey

Saturday’s workshops, including special programs for children, will be highlighted by talks from Brian Sullivan, project leader for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for eBird.org, Dr. Chris Farmer, Hawaii program director for the American Bird Conservancy, and a panel discussion by the Hawaii Forest Bird Survey crew. Noah Gomes, park ranger at Volcanoes National Park will also speak about traditional Hawaiian featherwork.

Saturday’s program options include a hands-on Photography Workshop with professional photographer Jack Jeffrey and a block-printing workshop with artist Gretchen Grove. Materials will be provided.

Saturday night’s Gala Dinner will be headlined by Dr. Sam Gon III speaking on the cultural and biological significance of Hawaii’s unique bird life.

A highlight of the first-ever Festival is Sunday’s “sneak peek” of the newly created Hawai’i Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail with field-trip van departures from the east end, at Hilo, or from the west, Kailua-Kona. Other options are a pelagic (sea) birding trip with biologist guides Brian Sullivan, Mike Scott and Lance Tanino, or a bird photography field trip with Jack Jeffrey.

“We are very pleased with the excellent reception we’ve had so far,” said Rob Pacheco (Hawaii Forest & Trail). “Not only are we enrolling participants from Hawaii, but birders from across the U.S. Mainland have expressed great interest in our program. The Festival is a boon to Hawai’i tourism, and it also will give our keiki (children) a chance to learn more about the nature of Hawai’i, with the help of experts who will be joining us to teach at the Festival. ”

Festival sponsors include Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Hawaii, Alaska Airlines, Audubon Magazine, Hawaii Forest and Trail, Destination Marketing and others.

For more information and Festival registration, please visit the website hawaiibirdingtrails.com. Book before August 1st to take advantage of early-bird pricing for all Festival components.