It’s for the Birds: Kilauea Point Lighthouse, Kauai

Kilauea Point Lighthouse

Never wanting to miss a lighthouse in our travels, after a nice hike in the Northwestern part of Kauai, we stopped over at the Kilauea Lighthouse on the way home to our rental.  Due to the title of the blog post, you might be thinking that it was a terrible experience with a less than noteworthy lighthouse to view.  Thankfully this was not the case! Right along side the Kilauea Lighthouse is a National Wildlife Refuge, and happens to be one of the best places to view nesting seabirds among the Hawaiian Islands, so it really is…For the Birds! We were delighted to see and learn about the birds native to the area. We also happily realized that our entrance to the lighthouse and refuge would be free in celebration of Veteran’s Day.

Aside from the usual jungle fowl, we saw and learned about three birds in particular.

  • The NeNe (Hawaiian Goose)

Protected under the endangered species act, this Hawaiian State Bird was actually the easiest to spot.  We were able to get up close, and they didn’t mind (too much) being harassed by our overly-friendly toddler.  We often saw them in pairs.  Thanks to some more observant visiting photographers, I got to see one hiding in the bushes below the visitor’s center.

  • The ‘Iwa (Great Frigate Birds)

To see the ‘Iwa, we  just had to look up.  We spotted them soaring above probably in search of food, but they also seemed to go wherever the wind took them.  We learned that their Hawaiian name (‘Iwa) actually translates to thief! While they can get their food from grabbing fish and squid from the surface of the water, they also are known to snatch food away from other birds, probably due to their inadequacies at fishing blamed on their short legs and large wing span.  This body structure makes it hard for them to take off from the water.

  • The ‘A (Red-Footed Boobie)

Can you spot some red feet in the second picture?

We saw these guys from afar roosting in the trees across the bay.  If we looked closely (or just used the provided telescope), we could just barely make out the signature red feet.  They are the smallest of all the “boobie” birds, are great at flying, and are also pretty good at fishing.

Our short and sweet visit to Kilauea Point Lighthouse & Wildlife Refuge proved to be the perfect little stopover.  It was easy and safe for Bergen to run around, and we got to see and learn all about some very special natural features of Hawaii.  Inside the visitor’s center is a 3-D map of all of the Hawaiian Islands, and gives a great perspective of the island chain as a whole.  We also used it to help us decide which island to visit next!

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23 thoughts on “It’s for the Birds: Kilauea Point Lighthouse, Kauai

    • Good question! We’re actually thinking of going to Oahu next. I haven’t been, and my husband was there just for a short time on business. I’d like to see Pearl Harbor, and we’d love to see the North Shore, among so many other things, of course!

      • It’ll definitely be very different from Kauai – more city-like of course. If you want to go to the North Shore, the best time is during the winters when the waves are big and the surf competitions are going on over there. Think the Vans Triple Crown is on now actually.

        If you want to do historical and cultural things, don’t forget to visit Iolani Palace (only Palace in the U.S. I think) and Bishop Museum.

      • It will be quite a different experience for sure! Thanks so much for the info & tips! Our tradition is to go in November to take advantage of the Veteran’s Day holiday.
        Will add Iolani Palace & the Bishop Museum to the list!

    • They are absolutely related to the Canada Geese! Yes, I’d love to get the chance to watch the red footed boobies a little closer, and for a little longer 🙂 Have you seen the boobies in your travels?

    • Yes, some of the history behind certain lighthouses is so fascinating. We visited one in California where we were able to tour the living quarters, which were restored…so neat to imagine the family living there so long ago.

      Seeing the Iwas was a treat! I wish I had known before hand that they were known to steal. I would have watched even closer!

  1. Lighthouses always make for a great visit. I did find the red feet once I enlarged the photo..they are so cute! Welcome to Travel Photo Thursday 🙂

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