Searching for a Fairy (Tern)

Wickersham's Conscience

O’ahu Island and Waikiki Beach in particular are not WC’s and Mrs. WC’s favorite places in the Hawai’ian Islands. Maybe even least favorite. If you want a big city in the tropics there are lots of birdier places.

But O’ahu is the only birder-accessible place on the planet to see Fairy Terns, a/k/a White Terns. Sure, they nest in large numbers on Midway Island, but unless you volunteer for three months you can’t go there. For whatever reason, Fairy Terns have decided they like nesting in downtown Honolulu, especially at the Iolani Palace and the Kapiolani City Park between the north end of Waikiki and Diamond Head.

It’s a challenge to find them. O’ahu is plagued with Rock Pigeons (introduced) as well as Spotted Doves (ditto) and Zebra Dovers (also ditto). But for unknown reasons, many of Honolulu’s Rock Pigeons are white, the same color as Fairy Terns.

Rock Pigeon doing its best Fairy Tern imitation, O'ahu, Hawai'ian Islands Rock Pigeon…

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