Hawai‘i’s Kōlea: The Amazing Transpacific Life of the Pacific Golden-Plover

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University of Hawaiʻi Press
Oscar W. Johnson and Susan Scott
Softcover, 80 pp.

Oscar “Wally” Johnson, the undisputed world expert on Pacific Golden-Plovers, and Susan Scott, a popular-science writer, have combined their knowledge and enthusiasm to create a book for everyone who admires the exceptional birds called “Kōlea” in Hawaiian. With easy-to-understand yet scientifically accurate text and outstanding color photographs, Hawai`i’s Kōlea: The Amazing Transpacific Life of the Pacific Golden-Plover is a handy, reliable source of information for both general readers and ornithology specialists.

Although the Pacific Golden-Plover is a member of the shorebird group, Kōlea spend most of their time inland, favoring open space with short vegetation. This makes Hawai`i’s cemeteries, golf courses, and backyard lawns prime real estate for these migratory birds. Each year Kōlea fly thousands of miles nonstop from Alaska and return to the same spot in the Islands, whether a condominium courtyard, a busy beach park, or a strip of grass in downtown Honolulu. As a result, many Hawai`i residents get to know individual birds, calling them “my Kōlea.” In turn, urban plovers often grow tame around people, an endearing trait uncommon in other birds. Their human admirers see city Kōlea as charming, alert, and personable―qualities that, together with their grace and beauty, have made them arguably Hawai`i’s favorite bird.

Observing the birds gives rise to countless questions: “When do the birds leave Hawai`i? When do they return? Do they have chicks in the Islands? How long does it take them to fly to Alaska?” To answer these and other questions, the authors have gathered together just about every detail researchers know about Pacific Golden-Plovers. If you marvel at the remarkable birds that prance through your park, strut in your street, and rest on your rooftop, this book will make you love Kōlea even more.