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Krazy for Kolea Kontest

Prizes offered for sightings of annual migratory birds 

Nene O Molokai Press Release

The fall migration of the Kolea has begun. Also called the Pacific Golden Plover and scientifically known as Pluvialis fulva, the birds are returning from their breeding grounds in the Alaskan tundra. Kolea are territorial and live for twenty years or more, annually returning to Hawaii. Many Molokai residents have named their distinguished winter guests, noting their arrival and departure dates on calendars.

The Kolea is a swift flyer. In around 40 hours at speeds averaging from 56 to 60 miles per hour, the Kolea performs an incredible nonstop migration across the Pacific Ocean. The Kolea spends most of its daylight hours foraging, and can be recognized from a distance by its peculiar ‘run-stop-run’ feeding behavior.

The Kolea is a prominent figure in Hawaiian folklore. It was considered to be the embodiment of Koleamoku, the god of healing, and a messenger of high chiefs. The northern migration of Kolea may have aided ancient navigators with the discovery of the Hawaiian Islands.

If you report the return of your Kolea, you could win a prize. The observer of the first confirmed Kolea sighting will win a Kolea research t-shirt from the Hawaiian Audubon Society. The first ten confirmed observations will receive a gift certificate for a scoop of ice cream at Kamoi Snack-N-Go in Kaunakakai. Any individual reporting a banded Kolea will receive $20 cash, after the sighting and location have been confirmed.

The Kolea is easily recognized by its bold black and white breeding feathers. However, this ‘alternate’ plumage is lost by winter when the bird molts back to ‘basic’ plumage.
Kolea banded on Molokai have a green or yellow band over a silver metal band. Also, be on the lookout for birds banded with a combination of three colored and one metal band. Bird bands are read as if reading a book, from left leg top to bottom, then right leg top to bottom.

To report your Kolea sightings, call Arleone at Nene O Molokai at 553-5992, or send an email to researchbirds@yahoo.com. Include the date, time and location of each sighting with your report. Molokai sightings are collected at Nene O Molokai and emailed to Peter Pyle, an ornithologist who compiles the information for the Bishop Museum.

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