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Pau Hana with Hans Tobler of Kalaeloa Partners LP

Photos: David Croxford

Photo: David Croxford

When Hans “Ruedi” Tobler was growing up in Switzerland, he had two passions: electricity and birds. It took decades, but the general manager for Kalaeloa Partners LP, an independent power producer at Campbell Industrial Park on Oahu, now cultivates both passions.

Since moving to Hawaii in 1989, Tobler has been raising, breeding and caring for birds at his Makakilo home. He started with a 4-by-16-foot wooden aviary in his yard and has gradually more than quadrupled its size. He now has more than 70 kinds of small birds, many rescued or bred by himself.

Photo: David Croxford

“I like the noise of the birds over the noise of traffic,” says Tobler, 59, standing in his aviary and holding a sprig of millet seed for nibbling blue-and-green parakeets and gray cockatiels. “And parakeets are great for that.”

The enclosure he built himself is outfitted with showers and lights, and has easy-to-separate compartments to keep certain species together, particularly important for breeding. “The birds will constantly mate if there’s a place to mate,” Tobler says, but he adds that responsible breeders like himself will only allow four batches of eggs a year at most for the welfare of the birds and their offspring.

“I treat them like they’re my children,” Tobler says.

The Toblers also have rabbits, guinea pigs, five cats, a turtle and a rescue dog named Zimba. “I love it here,” Tobler says, standing in front of the noisy aviary. “... I get a lot of stress relief out of it.”

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Hawaii Business,January