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Every Spring, flocks of Pacific Golden Plovers make a 3,000-mile flight from winter homes in Hawai'i to northern Alaska where they live all summer among musk ox, grizzly bear, sandhill crane and Arctic fox. Their amazing annual migration is a compelling nature tale for children and adults, which also brings to light the bird's relevance to ancient Hawaiian culture.


Flight of the Golden Plover
The Amazing Migration Between Hawai'i and Alaska
by Debbie S. Miller

The golden plover is a powerful bird of hula chants and legends. Called Kolea, it embodies the spirit of Kumukahi, a god with strong healing powers. It may have assisted ancient Polynesian explorers from the South Pacific in discovering the Hawaiian Islands. The plovers themselves are excellent navigators, beginning their journey at night and using stars and the sun to make their way between the Arctic tundra and Hawai'i.

The golden plovers accomplish one of the world's longest over-water migrations, flying an average of 60 miles an hour, riding the high winds, pumping their wings, and burning fat they stored for energy while wintering in Hawai'i. On the Alaskan tundra, the golden plovers feed on lichens and berries; they nest and protect their young and fatten up the family before the return trip to Hawai'i each August.

Flight of the Golden Plover features excellent illustrations of migration, nesting, protecting the young from predators, and life among other Hawaiian and Alaskan species. It also includes a fact page about the bird and its natural history.


Inside pages with illustrations by Daniel Van Zyle