Introduction of the West Nile virus (WNV) to Hawai'i will undoubtedly devastate many populations of critically endangered avian species indigenous to Hawai'i. The protective efficacy of a protein-based WNV subunit vaccine formulated with adjuvant was evaluated in domestic geese as a surrogate species for the endangered Nēnē, the state bird of Hawai'i. Prevention of viremia following viral infection of vaccinated birds was used as the clinical endpoint of protection. ELISA and plaque reduction neutralization tests demonstrate that significant levels of vaccine antigen-specific antibody were produced in groups of birds vaccinated with 5 or 10 microg of the WN-80E antigen formulated with ISA720 adjuvant. Moreover, after challenge with WNV, no viremia was detected in vaccinated birds, whereas viremia was detected up to 4 days after and virus was detected by oral swab for 6 days after infection among control groups. Safe and effective vaccination of managed or captive endangered bird populations will protect species with critically low numbers that could not survive the added mortality of introduced disease.