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Healthy kōlea are making the 3,000-mile journey back to Hawaiʻi

Ann Tanimoto-Johnson

Scientists believe the risk of Hawaiʻi's migratory birds returning home and bringing avian flu is low. Sick birds may not make it across the Pacific Ocean — a survival of the fittest kind of scenario. However, the death of marine mammals on the continent due to avian flu makes researchers wary.

Around this time of year, kōlea, or golden plovers, fly thousands of miles home from Alaska. Avian flu has been found in poultry houses and the wild. Local citizen scientists involved in the kolea count have been on the lookout.

The Conversation caught up with Susan Scott, president of the Hawaii Audubon Society, for an update on what they are seeing among returning kōlea. She was building on a tracking project started by Wally Johnson, an expert on the kolea migration.

Look for more information about the annual membership meeting in November which will feature kolea expert Wally Johnson.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Sept. 9, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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