It’s not just domesticated animals you’ll see at Horizon Guest House. We have abundant wild bird life here on the property and in this post, part I of II, we’ll feature some of our favorites.
The kalij pheasant was first introduced to Hawaii in 1962. The males are black with grey and the females are light brown. The males have a distinctive red colouring around the eyes with a plume of feathers on their heads.
They grow to be between two to three feet in size. Originally from the Himalaya region in Nepal, it was the owners of Pu’u Wa’awa’a Ranch who first brought the kalij pheasants to the Big Island. You’re most likely to see these birds in forested upland areas, which is why we often see them here at Horizon due to the altitude – we’re at 1,100 feet.
Did you know? Despite it’s size the kalij is sometimes targeted as prey by the io, the Hawaiian hawk!
This colorful bird is fairly common on the Big Island. Also known as the northern cardinal, or redbird, it was introduced to Hawaii in 1929.
Cardinals are common in pairs and you’ll often see them in the garden at Horizon. The male is easily identified by his bright red color. The females are brown in color. When you hear birdsong first thing in the morning at Horizon it’s likely to be the cardinal as they are among the first birds to sing at dawn.
The zebra finch is a common bird on the property and it might take you a moment to see them. The zebra finch is very small. So-called because of its zebra-like stripes on its neck and chest, and also because of the coloring of its black and white tail.
There can be great variation in the coloring of zebra finches. Generally the male is gray with a black shading around its eye and patches of red on its cheeks as well as a red beak. The female’s beak is more of a pale orange.
You’ll often see turkeys at Horizon moving in herds. Turkeys were released on the Big Island at the Pu’u Wa’awa’a Ranch in the early 1960s when some wild Rio Grande turkeys were introduced.
Turkeys like the higher elevations and their population has grown significantly since their introduction. Their numbers are estimated at more than 15,000.
Did you know? Turkeys are found on all islands but are more common on the Big Island, Molokai and Lanai than the other islands.
One of our favorites, the saffron finch is commonly found on the Big Island but especially on the Kona Coast. Often seen in large flocks, you’ll find saffron finches congregating around the pond at the entrance to the B&B.
The species of saffron finch on the Big Island are originally from Columbia/Venezuela and were introduced to the Big Island around the same time as the turkeys to the Pu’u Wa’awa’a Ranch.
Did you know? A group of finches has many collective nouns, these include a ‘charm’, a ‘company’ and a ‘trembling’ of finches!
Look out for part II of our feature on the wild birds of Horizon in the future!
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I want/to know how you got the birds to sit in your hand?
The birds had unfortunately flown into the windows and I was trying to help them recover, at this point they were still in a slightly dazed state and they allowed me to hold them in my hands!