Best Things to do on Maui: Go Bird Watching

There are hundreds of different birds that call Maui home, and thousands of bird lovers flock to the island every year to catch a glimpse of them.

At Ching’s Pond, located at Mile Marker 16.9 on the Road to Hana, a small bridge crosses the Palauhulu stream, one of the top locations for bird watching in the State of Hawaii. Beneath the bridge two trails lead you to a series of photogenic pools. Some of the trails can be challenging here, and on the weekends there are lots of visitors.

The Kula Botanical Gardens has a well-stocked Bird Sanctuary featuring endangered native Nēnē Geese, and the Aviary’s Doves and Lovebirds. Annual passes, self-guided tours, guided group tours, and school tours are available. The Kula Botanical Garden is open to the public seven days a week from 9am to 4pm. A self-guided visit will take 45 minutes or longer.

You can also see the endangered Hawaiian Nene goose at the preserve and nursery established on the Piiholo Ranch. While enjoying a Maui horseback riding adventure, you can experience being a part of a working cattle ranch, learning about the many native plants and indigenous Hawaiian trees that line the property, and watching out for colorful forest birds.

Many seabirds make their homes on the slopes of the Molokini Crater, including Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and Bulwers Petrels, Brown Boobies and you may spot a Great Frigate or “Iwa” bird, whose wing span can reach 7 feet across.

The Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge is a 691-acre bird sanctuary that attracts over 6,000 birdwatchers, artists, photographers, and environmental activists every year.  Native waterbirds live here year-round, and migratory birds swoop in to visit from August to April. The Refuge is home to 30 species of waterfowl, shorebirds, and migratory ducks. The ʻaukuʻu (black-crowned night heron), the endangered āeʻo (Hawaiian stilt) and ʻalae kea (Hawaiian coot) are common sights inside the Refuge.