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Every Kolea Counts

Hawaii Audubon Society News Release

The Hawaii Audubon Society is conducting the first-ever statewide count of Kolea, or Pacific Golden-Plovers, inviting community members to help count. The last Oahu-only count was in 1968, estimating 15,173 Kolea. In 1992, researchers counted 1,902 Kolea on Oahu’s 28 (38 today) golf courses. Because no counts have been conducted since then, and never any statewide counts, no one knows if the Hawaii population is increasing, decreasing or stable.

Besides estimating Hawaii’s Kolea population, the Hawaii Audubon Society’s project aims to increase resident and visitor awareness and appreciation of these birds that nest in Alaska, and spend winters in Hawaii. Twice a year, the birds fly 3,000 miles one-way, nonstop, in 3-to-4 days, arriving in Hawaii in August and leaving for Alaska in April.

For the 2020-2021 count, organizers are asking volunteers to count Kolea three times in their specific areas, at any time intervals, between Dec. 1 and March 31. This will include the island of Molokai. Locations, guidelines, and reporting details are at koleacount.org

Hawaii’s Kolea return to the same foraging spot every year for their entire lives (up to 21 years) making the Kolea that visit yards and parks feel like old friends. Counting and reporting Kolea is a good way to beat the Covid blues by getting some exercise, and at the same time, collecting data to help a magnificent native species.

For the Molokai Kolea Count, contact Arleone Dibben-Young, 553-5992, nene@hawaii.rr.com.

To contact Hawaii Audubon Society Kolea Count manager Susan Scott, email honu@susanscott.net.

Kolea Count T-shirts, Kolea book and tally clickers available at hawaiiaudubon.org/store. Funds raised go to Kolea research.

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