LIHU‘E — A new bird guide written by Kaua‘i residents Helen and André F. Raine went on sale this week.
The comprehensive guide to native and introduced birds in Hawai‘i was launched after the American Birding Association voted to include the state in its official American bird checklist for the first time. That decision has dramatically increased interest in birding in the islands, with enthusiasts able to add over 100 additional bird species to their American list.
Helen Raine said, “This book was really fun to write. The isolation of our archipelago means that Hawai‘i has some of the most unique and interesting native birds in the world – we wanted to share that with local, national and international readers. We worked hard to make sure this book would appeal to people who are just starting out as birdwatchers as well as those birders who are itching to add Hawaiian species to their existing North American list.”
The Raines have been based on Kaua‘i for a decade, with Helen Raine now focused mainly on native waterbirds and Dr. André Raine working principally on endangered seabirds including the Newell’s Shearwater and Hawaiian Petrel. The couple have taken every opportunity to get close to other native species.
“I’m really grateful to the Kaua‘i Forest Bird Recovery Project for volunteer opportunities that took me into Kaua‘i’s remote Alaka‘i Swamp to study rare birds like ‘akeke‘e, ‘akikiki and puaiohi in their native habitat. Those experiences really ignited my passion for Hawaiian birds,” Andre Raine said.
The book is written for beginner to intermediate birders and focuses on the most common birds found in the state. That includes non-natives that residents and visitors will instantly recognize from their own backyards, as well as extremely rare species found only in remote mountain locations. Large color images by renowned Hawai‘i-based photographer Jack Jeffrey showcase the beauty and splendor of the archipelago’s bird life, and are accompanied by captions, habitat and behavior information. A detailed species account is also included to give birders the essential information they need to identify and learn more about each type of bird.
André Raine pointed out the state is home to at least 34 bird species found nowhere else in the world, “making it a must-see for destination for birders.”
“Hawai‘i is a magical place for birdwatchers,” he said. “At a time when we are thinking about what we would like tourism to look like in the future in Hawai‘i, we hope this book will inspire visitors and residents to find out more about the natural world here on the islands.”