Many residents and visitors are familiar with the Kōlea (Pacific Golden-Plover), those long-legged birds that arrive each year in Hawaiʻi to adopt our yards, eat our centipedes (yay!), and don their tuxedos before departing. In this presentation, learn more about the Kōlea and their fascinating natural history, as well as get answers to some common Kōlea questions, including where do they come from, how do they make the journey and survive, what do their calls mean, how do they know where to go, and more!
Presentation length: 46 minutes
Note: we had some connection issues while recording this presentation, but we pressed on and made it through!
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About the Presenter
Oscar Wally Johnson, PhD
Pacific Golden-Plovers, one of the world’s longest distance migrant birds, make remarkable nonstop transoceanic flights in spring and fall that cover thousands of miles. Oscar W. (Wally) Johnson, an Affiliate Research Scientist in the Department of Ecology at Montana State University, is a plover expert having studied these birds for many years. He became fascinated with plovers in the ‘60s while conducting bird research at Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands, and this fascination eventually led to his long-term research on the species, ongoing since 1979. Johnson’s research has involved fieldwork throughout the Pacific (the birds’ wintering grounds) and in Alaska (the breeding grounds). His talk will cover various features of plover ecology with an emphasis on new technology that enables the tracking of their amazing hemispheric travels.
Wally Johnson is a graduate of Washington State University (PhD Zoology), he taught for many years in the Minnesota State University system, and moved to Bozeman in 1990. Almost all his research has focused on birds, primarily their anatomy and ecology. He has published about 60 scientific papers (more than half involve plovers) along with two monographs (Pacific Golden-Plover and American Golden-Plover) for The Birds of North America series (now online as Birds of the World), and a recent popular book on Pacific Golden-Plovers. Johnson’s work has been funded by the National Geographic Society and numerous state and federal agencies.