Written by Pete Donaldson
On Sunday morning, December 3, 2023, ten of us gathered in Ala Moana Beach Park for a bird walk. I am the compiler for the Honolulu Christmas Bird Count. Dick May, the compiler for the Waipiʻo Christmas Bird Count was also with the group, along with Rich Downs and Kate Righter from Hawaiʻi Audubon Society. We hoped to get a little birding practice before the upcoming Christmas counts.
We had a beautiful sunny morning, but those of us who drove to the park were surprised to see much of the parking blocked off, including the whole Magic Island lot. The Street Bikers United Toy Parade was taking place that day and the roar of motorcycle engines filled the air.
We retreated to the far end of the Magic Island section of the park, where it was a bit quieter. Ala Moana has a good assortment of urban birds plus some seabirds and wintering shorebirds. We observed 21 species—mostly introduced birds, along with indigenous Pacific Golden-Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones, White Terns and Black-crowned Night Herons. The birds at Ala Moana are used to having lots of people around, so it is possible to get close views of some of the birds. We were able to practice comparing some similar species, such as House Sparrows with House Finches and Spotted Doves with Zebra Doves.