Our 2018 Bird of the Year

The Pacific Golden-Plover!


Pacific Golden-Plovers spend their summers in western Alaska and eastern Russia, nesting on the tundra and taking advantage of the burst of plant and insect life triggered by the Arctic's long summer days. However, just like many Alaskans, Pacific Golden-Plovers frequent Hawaii in the winter. Since they lack waterproofing on their feathers, they'll fly nonstop from their breeding grounds in the Arctic to Hawaii, sometimes making that journey in just two days! Wintering Pacific Golden-Plovers can also be found on other islands in the Pacific, and in California, Australia, across Asia, and even in northeast Africa. 

In both Alaska and Hawaii, the Pacific Golden-Plover is known by onomatopoeic names inspired by the bird's trilling call. One Yup'ik word for this bird is "tuuliik," and the Inupiaq name is "tullik." In Hawaii, it's known as "Kolea." It's as beloved in Hawaii as it is here in Alaska. According to this article, "Legend says the Kolea may have aided ancient Polynesian seafarers in discovering the Hawaiian Islands. There are traditional songs and hulas about the Kolea...In legends, the god of healing, Koleamoku, could turn himself into a Kolea. They were also messengers to the high chiefs from the gods." Learn more.

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