KT, the Bristled-thighed Curlew, enjoying the warm weather of Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuge far from his breeding grounds in Alaska. Photo Credit: Jenny Howard/USFWS
As the summer breeding season winds down at the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, the Bristle-thighed Curlews (Numenius tahitiensis) prepare for their non-stop flight to Pacific Island wintering grounds. They gorge themselves on berries and a variety of invertebrates at staging areas to raise body fat content for the long flight.
The Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, where KT breeds in the summer time. Photo Credit: Anabel Lereculeur
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) biologist Kristine Sowl conducted a three-year study on Bristle-thighed Curlews at their breeding grounds from 2010-2012. Using coded leg flags, Sowl banded 77 individual adults; seven of the birds have been re-sighted in the wintering grounds, two on northern Oahu, one on Laysan Island, two on Midway Atoll, and two on Johnston Atoll. Of the two on Johnston Atoll, one had a broken wing and was not observed again. The other curlew had a leg flag coded with the letters KT has been observed twice in the same region of Johnston Island.