The Kolea that spend winters in Hawaii and nest in Alaska are just one population of Pacific Golden-Plovers. Another group spend winters throughout the South Pacific and nest in Siberia and further north in Alaska.

The red-shaded area is the species worldwide nesting range, dark blue its wintering range.

In New Zealand, the population of Pacific Golden-Plovers, called Kuriri in the Maori language, has dropped from 1,000 around 1990 to less than 300 today.  To get some answers, in February workers from the New Zealand Shorebird Center fitted three Kuriri with satellite tags.  The birds made it to Japan’s island of Honshu for refueling, then carried on to Alaska’s Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta, a river delta located where the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers empty into the Bering Sea on Alaska’s west coast.

The satellite transmissions failed on two of the birds in Alaska, but the third lasted until the bird stopped at Tonga in November during southward migration.  In March, it was spotted back in New Zealand, so no one knows when actually arrived.

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