After 30 years with the State of Hawaiʻi Forestry & Wildlife Division, you could say that Alan Silva knows his stuff. During that time, Alan worked right here at Hōkūala enhancing and promoting the nēnē goose population. You may notice our 14 MPH signs as you drive through the property—those signs are in place specifically to remind guests to slow down and avoid hitting one of the precious birds that call Hōkūala home. On the Bird & Wildlife Tour, you will get to know more of our feathered friends.

Alaeke’oke’o, Hawaiian Coot
ʻAlae’ula, Common Moorhen


Timbers Kauaʻi at Hōkūala is home to five endangered water bird species:

  1. Nēnē, Hawaiian Goose (Hawaiʻi’s state bird!) — SPOT THEM by their black face and crown and cream-colored cheeks. (Think Canadian Goose’s cousin.)
  2. ‘Alaeke’oke’o, Hawaiian Coot — SPOT THEM by their white bill and bulbous frontal shield.
  3. ʻAlae’ula, Common Moorhen — SPOT THEM by their prominent red shield over their red and yellow bill. Their feet are actually lobed rather than webbed!
  4. Koloa, Hawaiian Duck — SPOT THEM by their green to blue secondary wing feathers with a white border.
  5. A’eo, Hawaiian Stilt — SPOT THEM by their long, thin black bill and long, delicate pink legs.

Nēnē Geese specifically are considered a symbolic joining force between the mountains and the coast because of their seasonal movements. Hōkūala is the perfect environment for these endangered birds, with both mountains and coastline, water and food sources, ample nesting areas, and minimal predatory threats. In addition to the endangered birds on property, the tour includes numerous seabirds, shore birds & non-native birds that make Hōkūala home throughout the year. The tour offers a unique close-up view of our avian neighbors in their natural habitat.


During his three decades with the State of Hawaiʻi  Forestry & Wildlife Division, Alan worked closely with and learned from some of the best wildlife biologists in the world. Often studying wildlife in the Alakai Swamp and along the Nāpali Coast here on Kauaʻi, Alan also traveled to offshore islands in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific. From Guam and Midway to Kure Atoll and Rota, Alan worked to study and preserve rare plants, insects, and wildlife on the verge of extinction. He even worked on growing the nēnē population right here at Hōkūala – starting at a dozen in 1984, and growing to over 800 birds in 30 years’ time.


It’s not uncommon to see all five of the endangered species birds as well as 15-20 other varieties during the tour. Because the grounds stretch from makai to mauka, there is often an opportunity to see Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles, and the pueo – Hawaiian short-eared owl – as well.

The tour offers a unique view dating back to the days of Chris Hemmeter, the original developer of the property. Alan expertly guides guests through the development of the property including the original lagoon islands usage, the original trails, and their intended use. The property has a rich and unique history that will keep you on the edge of your seat, all while viewing the endangered and common birds, ponds, vegetation and unique tropical surroundings.


This family-friendly tour will be one that will spark conversation around the dinner table for years to come. From feeding the variety of chickens that occupy the property to swinging from the tree vine swing along a pathway lined with Rainbow Eucalyptus trees, this is a fully immersive experience that will stick with you.

Ready to book a tour? Reach out to our concierge team at Timbers Kaua‘i: