Our Campus KOLEA are Ready for Take Off

If you haven’t seen them already, today is your chance!  

This month, these gold-spotted, quick-steppers often seen throughout Hawai’i and strolling across the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) campus, are taking flight for their annual journey.

The winter season has come to an end for the Pacific Golden Plover, also known as the “Kolea bird,” as it will soon be enduring an uninterrupted migration to Alaska. The best recorded time, (still considered an estimate, according to a Hawai`i Nature Center website), showed the Kolea leaving O’ahu and appearing in Alaska 70 hours later. (2014, Hawai`i Nature Center).

Each April, the Kolea flocks north for the summer mating season, and returns to its winter territory the following August.

The Kolea is an incredibly territorial bird. It possesses a unique habit of establishing itself in one location during the winter months, where it continuously returns after each summer migration. That’s what makes our JABSOM Kolea our campus Kolea.

In the winter, the Kolea is distinguished by its brown and white, gold-spotted feathers and white-striped face. Before migration, the Kolea molts, or sheds its winter coat, which is replaced by a mating plumage of black breast and belly feathers.

A hui hou, kolea…we will see you again in August.

To see our slideshow photos without flash player, go to UH MED Flickr.

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