YOUR BIRDING GUIDE:
Michael Walther is one of Hawaii's most experienced birding guides who
has conducted numerous Hawaii forest bird surveys, and has written six books and many magazine articles about Hawaii's native species.
Oahu Nature Tours was founded in October, 1995
by Michael. Born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in Los Angeles,
California, he first visited Hawai'i in December, 1972 for several
months. In 1980 he moved to Kaua'i and while living in Poipu Beach, he
became interested in the native honeycreepers that survived in the
remote Alaka'i Wilderness. With a friend, he visited the swamp-like
area and attempted to see the rare O'o, Akialoa, O'u, Nukupu'u, Puaiohi
and Kamao. Unfortunately none of these endangered species were found
but he was able to observe the beautiful I'iwi, Apapane, Amakihi,
Anianiau and Elepaio.
In November of 1980, Michael returned to the mainland and for the next
15 years he lived and worked in California but the memory of the
colorful and disappearing honeycreepers stayed with him. During his
last year in college the plight of Hawai'i's native birds became the
focal point of his research. In 1994, he returned to Hawai'i, "The Endangered Species Capital of the World",
to study the birds and do what he could to help them survive. For three
months, Michael surveyed the native forest bird populations on Kaua'i
to determine their status. His results were published in the Journal of
the Hawaiian Audubon Society, the Elepaio. Then he returned to California to earn his degree.
After graduating with high honors in March of 1995 in Anthropology and Environmental Studies,
Michael arrived to Maui and went to work as a volunteer for The
National Biological Survey. He worked on a project studying several of
the rarest birds on Earth. These included the Maui Akepa, Maui Nukupu'u, Po'ouli, Maui Parrotbill and the Crested Honeycreeper.
He worked on a research team that was surveying the wild, wet and windy
slopes of the world's largest dormant volcano, Haleakala. He also
participated in distributing poison bait to eliminate the large rat
population in the area.
Michael is also a nature photographer,
and by 1995, he had collected a large number of color slides of
Hawai'i's incredibly beautiful natural treasures. He researched and
wrote a book entitled Images of Natural Hawaii: A Pictorial Guide to Hawaii's Native Forest Birds and Plants. The book was published by Hawaiian Service Company. His photographs of Hawai'i's rare honeycreepers have also appeared in "Hawai'i", "Aloha", and "New Zealand Forest and Bird"
magazines. On O'ahu, he continued to photograph Hawai'i's endangered
plant and bird species and he studied Hawaiian geology, archaeology,
mythology and history.
In the Fall of 1995, Michael, with the help of his brother, Mark, started Oahu Nature Tours. The company slogan is "Conservation Through Education."
The original tour van was a used, six passenger Dodge Caravan. Today
Oahu Nature Tours has nine 15 passenger, air conditioned Chevy Express
vans and five 25 passenger Ford minibuses.
During his first two
years in business, Michael conducted all of the tours. Today, he
employs twenty-five professional nature guides, who receive continuous
education about Hawai'i's natural history.
Michael has taken the role of a spokesman for Hawai'i's rare birds and
plants. Through his tours, books and photographs, he hopes to educate
both visitors and residents about the beautiful but seriously
endangered native species.
Oahu Nature Tours is proud to be a member and contributor to the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii, the Hawaiian Audubon Society and the Conservation Council for Hawaii, amongst others.
Oahu Nature Tours
Phone: 808-924-2473 Fax: 808-924-5395
Hawaii Birding Tours, Inc., 1995