BIRDWATCHING TOURS ON THE BIG ISLAND
Hawaii Forest and Trail tours are $155 a person; www.hawaii-forest.com or (800) 464-1993 or (808) 331-8505. Limit 10 people per tour; children must be at least 8 years old. Two birdwatching trips are offered:
The Rainforest and Dryforest Birding Adventure takes birders into dryland forest on the west side of Mauna Kea and through misty forest on the northeastern slope of Mauna Loa.
The Hakalau Forest Wildlife Refuge tour. Hakalau was the first National Wildlife Refuge established in the United States for forest birds; see www.fws.gov/pacific/pacificislands/wnwr/bhakalaunwr.html. The tour is offered 18 times annually.
Getting there: From Honolulu, there are flights to Kailua-Kona or Hilo on Aloha or Hawaiian Airlines.
What to wear: Sturdy hiking shoes, a windbreaker or poncho for upper elevations.
Equipment: Binoculars, birdwatching checklist from Hawaii Audubon Society.
BIRDWATCHING ON YOUR OWN
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for most of the Big Islands' native forest birds, plus black noddies nesting along Chain of Craters Road.
Aimakapa Pond in Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park for water birds such as pied-billed grebes, Hawaiian stilts and Hawaiian coots.
Puu Waa Waa along Mamalahoa Highway between Kailua-Kona and Waimea for the Hawaiian hawk, Pueo and Hawaii's state bird, the endangered nene goose.
Puu Laau on Mauna Kea, off the Saddle Road between Waikii and Pohakuloa, is the only place to see endangered palila.
Reference books: "A Pocket Guide to Hawaii's Birds" by H. Douglass Pratt; "Hawaiian Birdlife" by Andrew J. Berger; "Hawaii's Birds" from Hawaii Audubon Society; "Seabirds of Hawaii" by Craig Harrison; "A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific" by H. Douglass Pratt.