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Hawai‘i Island Festival of Birds Adds to Event Schedule

Posted August 8, 2017, 11:01 AM HST
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Hawai‘i Island Festival of Birds. Courtesy photo.

The second annual Hawai‘i Island Festival of Birds has added new events and speakers to its lineup.

The event is scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 15 and 16, and includes an all-day Bird Fair on Saturday at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

The fair will include special programs for children, as well as talks from experts including 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 indigenous 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.

More than 20 vendor booths will be open for attendees between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturdayʻs Bird Fair booths will also feature famed Japanese bird carver and inlay artist, Haruo Uchiyama.

Mayor Harry Kim, a bird enthusiast himself, 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.

Saturday’s Bird Fair activities will include a Birding 101 class, a workshop on eBird, a hands-on photography workshop with professional photographer Jack Jeffrey, and an art workshop. Materials will be provided.

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“We are very pleased with the excellent reception we’ve had so far,” said Rob Pacheco, Hawai‘i 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, there will be guided birdwatching field trips along the newly created Hawai’i Island Birding Trail, and 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 mountaintop, 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.

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 Hawai‘i from the American Bird Conservancy, The Endangered Forest Birds of Hawai‘i from DLNR, Struggle for Existence by Laurie Sumiye and Archives of Extinction by Alyse Takayesu.

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

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