Timbers Kaua‘i at Hōkūala, the award-winning, oceanfront resort community, has just launched an incredible Bird & Wildlife Tour. Led by the property’s naturalist, Alan Silva, this one-of-a-kind tour is an interactive, immersive exploration of the native Hawaiian ecosystem led by the property’s naturalist, Alan Silva. Silva’s Bird & Wildlife Tour offers guests the true meaning of “Malama (to protect and care for) Kaua‘i” and a close-up view of all the avian endangered species that call the property home.
Guests will also get the chance to see several seabirds, shore birds, and non-native birds that inhabit or visit the property throughout the year. Additionally, each tour gives guests the opportunity to view Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles, the pueo (Hawaiian short-eared owl), and even humpback whales during the season.
“We have five different endangered birds who call Hokuala home,” says Silva. “We have the Hawaiian nēnē goose, the Hawaiian coot, the common gallinule, Hawaiian stilts and Koloa Duck and it’s not uncommon to view all five during the Bird & Wildlife Tour. A portion of the tour takes place along the coastline where other endangered species, such as Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtles can be spotted on occasion, spinner dolphins and humpback whales during migration season.”
Silva’s sustainability and conservation efforts at Timbers Kaua’i have incorporated fostering a small flock of 15 birds to an impressive 800 birds, including several endangered species, most notably Hawaii’s state bird – the nēnē. The tour is complimentary, with the intention to foster within visitors a desire to protect, preserve, and understand Hawaiian native species.
“Under the direction of Timbers’ Resorts, Hōkūala has become stewards of this rare swath of land, focusing on authenticity and preserving natural wildlife.” Silva states. “Now, our rewilded areas provide ideal conditions for various bird species to reproduce, shelter, and raise their young. Having the opportunity to feed the chickens, swing from the tree vine, and see the vibrant rainbow eucalyptus trees adds to the tour’s excitement. It’s gratifying to see both kids and adults become excited about what they’ve experienced and ignite a passion for conservation.”
Chris Gampon, general manager of Timbers Kaua’i, applauds Silva’s commitment to environmental stewardship and the Hōkūala community. Gampon emphasizes the vital role Silva continues to play in maintaining the balance of the surrounding ecosystem, as well as his dedication to increasing the local bird population. In fact, Silva’s transformative work has led to an amazing resurgence of various bird species on the property.
“Through these tours, we hope to build a bridge of understanding between our guests and the natural world,” said Gampon. “Silva’s work underpins Timber Kaua’i’s mission to integrate conservation and education into our guest experience, turning vacations into opportunities for authentic discovery and connection with Hawaii’s nature and culture.”
Born and raised on Kauai, Silva spent 30 years as a wildlife biological technician with the State of Hawaii Forestry & Wildlife division, finding, studying, and working with rare plants and wildlife throughout the Hawaiian Islands, the Mariana and Midway Islands. During that time, he also worked as an on-site monitor & wildlife biologist with Rana Biological in the development and construction stages of Kalanipu’u, Kauaʻi Lagoons, and Timbers projects. While Silva is interested in all avian species the nēnē are a special favorite. “The nēnē geese are very smart and strong birds and known as survivors here on the Garden Island. I have had multiple opportunities to hatch and raise abandoned nēnē eggs to fledgling goslings which later were “adopted” by nēnē families.”
The 90-minute tour is available on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and starts at 8:00 am. Guests can even request personalized tours if desired.
Meet The Birds
Hōkūala is home to five endangered water bird species:
- Nēnē, Hawaiian Goose (Hawaiʻi’s state bird) Spot them by their black face and crown and cream-colored cheeks, think Canadian Goose’s cousin.
- ‘Alaeke’oke’o, Hawaiian Coot. Spot them by their white bill and bulbous frontal shield.
- Alae’ula, Common Moorhen. Spot them by their prominent red shield over their red and yellow bill. Their feet are actually lobed rather than webbed
- Koloa, Hawaiian Duck. Spot them by their green to blue secondary wing feathers with a white border.
- A’eo, Hawaiian Stilt — Spot them by their long, thin black bill and long, delicate pink legs.