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Flying South with Pacific Golden-Plovers

Who wouldn't like to spend the winter in Hawaii?

In September, a Pacific Golden-Plover wings its way toward the Hawaiian Islands, where it will spend the winter. Its wings span a full two feet. The plover fueled up for migration by plucking summer berries from its Alaskan tundra breeding grounds, storing fat for its 2500-mile flight. After 48 hours of steady flying, at an average speed of 50 miles per hour, the plover will touch down softly on the grassy slopes of Mauna Kea, the huge extinct volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii – where this photo was taken!

Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
Flying South with Pacific Golden-Plovers

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote!
 [Pacific Golden-Plover calls]
Flying south over the Pacific Ocean from Nome, Alaska, at an altitude of over 10,000 feet, we see the ocean far below in a soft blue haze. This is what a migrating Pacific Golden-Plover sees as it wings toward the Hawaiian Islands, where it will spend the winter. [Pacific Golden-Plover calls]
The plover propels its 10-inch-long body with streamlined power. It’s a supreme flier, with slender, pointed wings that span a full two feet. It fueled up for migration by plucking summer berries from its Alaskan tundra breeding grounds, storing fat to power its 2500-mile non-stop flight. [Pacific Golden-Plover calls]
 There is a kind of terrible freedom in this delicate yet powerful bird’s journey. Striking out across the vast ocean, with nowhere to stop and rest, it has no choice but to head straight on for its island landfall.
  After 48 hours of steady flying, at an average speed of 50 miles per hour, the five-ounce plover touches down softly on the grassy slopes of Mauna Kea, the huge extinct volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.
 How often in our lives do we face the necessity of the go-for-broke self-reliance that the Pacific Golden-Plover achieves twice a year?
For BirdNote, I’m Frank Corrado.
###

Call of the Pacific Golden-Plover provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by W. Ward and H.D. Pratt.  Ambient recorded by G.F. Budney.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2010 Tune In to Nature.org     September 2010

ID# 091707PAGPKPLU           PAGP-01

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