YOUR BIRDING GUIDES:
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.
Reviews about Michael
Our other exceptional birding guide is Mandy who, as a tremendous lover of birds and wildlife, has dedicated her life to avian conservation. From the time she was a young girl she was collecting natural history observations in her own backyard, volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation and education center and rescuing unwanted pet parrots.
Mandy earned a Bachelor's of Science in Environmental Studies at East Stroudsburg University and began conducting countless environmental programs as a Naturalist, a Lead Conservation Educator at an AZA accredited zoo and as a Bird Banding and Education Specialist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.
Mandy continued to broaden her scientific studies and field skills with the Ornithology Lab at Villanova University pursuing graduate school.
Her passions for parrots led her to the remote forests of Manu, Peru, where she spent several months working to save endangered macaws, as well as studying tropical ecology in Costa Rica, Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.
She is grateful to have embarked on her new life here in Oahu as a guide and a professional Near East dance artist. Mandy is eager to share her knowledge and enthusiasm of Hawaii's culture, history, wildlife and most especially, its unique and fascinating birds.
Reviews about Mandy
Oahu Nature ToursPhone: 808-924-2473 Fax: 808-924-5395
Hawaii Birding Tours, Inc., 1995