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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.

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