Observing Manu (birds)
Spend a few hours observing and identifying the birds that find habitat on the land and in the water at Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park. Recent surveys have recorded 30 species of birds. Six of these species are native to Hawai‘i (see species list below) but are generally uncommon or rarely observed in the park. Some are occasionally seen off shore or in flight overhead, such as ‘Iwa (Great Frigatebird).
During the winter, it is common to observe Kolea (Pacific Golden Plover), ‘Akekeke (Ruddy Turnstone) and ‘Ūlili (Wandering Tattler) foraging along the rocky shoreline. The Hawaiian names for ‘Akekeke and the ‘Ūlili are similar to their individual calls and are thus indicative of their presence in Hawai‘i for many years.
A watchful eye and an awakened ear will lead you to discover some of the other feathered visitors observed at Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau . Most of these will be non-native birds which continue to pose a threat to the habitat and food supply for the native Hawaiian birds that have spent thousands of years evolving on this island.
Upon your arrival at the park, you might watch several Saffron Finch nibbling on the tall grass seeds of the Pili (Tanglehead Grass) or hear the Common Myna birds calling from within the Noni (Indian Mulberry trees). As the moon's light takes over for the sun, listen for the screech of the barn owl.