Lessons from two naive birders’ first visit to Hawaii

1. The number of bird species is much less diverse than more temperate locations. In a week your species count will probably not exceed that of a morning in spring back home.

2. Everything in Hawaii costs more. The airfare you paid to get to Hawaii will be negligible compared to the costs to eat, sleep, and drive in Hawaii.

3. Spend time studying bird songs and calls before leaving home. Ninety percent of birding is listening. If you don‘t know the sounds, you will miss ninety percent of the birds.

4. Expect lots of people at the popular touristy spots.

5. You will get lots of life birds; the actual number depends upon how much you‘ve previously birded Florida and California.

6. If you have time, visit more than one island. Two islands will probably produce fifty percent more birds than just one.

7. To see lots of birds does not necessarily require hiring a guide. However, a guide knows the exact locations down to the bush for each species and knows the calls and songs so can readily zero in on a bird.

8. Use eBird to find out what everyone else is seeing. If you‘re not using a guide, you can still follow them around from place to place on eBird. A big shout-out to the guides for posting and not keeping their info proprietary.

9. birdfinding.info is a great resource for planning and directions.

10. Pace yourself. If it‘s been below freezing for three months where you live, the temperature and humidity in Hawaii may wear you down.