When you travel over 6000 miles non stop, of course you want your own patch of grass. Actually, you deserve it.
This deserving avian wonder is the Pacific Golden Plover (or Hawai’ian Kolea)—a petite shorebird that is very common in Hawaii and who I first met on the island of Oahu.
Rhymes with Lover
The Pacific Golden Plover (“It rhymes with lover” Steve explained to me) nests in Alaska and spends winter in Hawaii and other islands in Polynesia. In Alaska they’re quite shy, but when they get to Hawaii they become quite tame and can be fed by hand. I have to admit, Hawaii makes me feel more vibrant and social too. It’s those nice tropical trade winds I suppose. And I’d be open to anyone feeding me by hand too, especially if it’s coconut macadamia nut shrimp.
The Pacific Golden Plover’s journey from Alaska to Hawaii is about 6000 miles and takes about 3-4 days. When Steve explained that to me I thought, “Hmm…that makes sense.” But then he added, “That’s without stopping.“
So imagine, you’re flapping your wings constantly. No stopping to rest.
“You rest and you die,” Steve added with dramatic emphasis.
Hey kid, get off my lawn
When the Plover gets to Hawaii he becomes very territorial, staking out his claim and protects it against other Plovers. You’ll find them in pretty much every park, football or soccer field, but they won’t be in a group. You’ll find just one guy. In fact, it’s almost like there’s one Plover per household lawn.
After a couple of days our vacation turned into a spot-the-Plover game–kind of like that game where you punch the arm of that person next to you whenever you see a Volkswagon Bug.
“Hey! Plover!” Punch.