There is a big colony of red crowned parrots that roost in a large Ohia tree at the end of our field. These bright green red-heads pair-up and move out to the jungle to feed in the morning and return in the afternoon. They make a squawking raucous noise when they fly, and I always take notice and announce their presence by yelling, “PARROTS!” (I might be getting famous for my impulsive pronouncements).
There are hundreds of interesting and beautiful birds in Hawaii and many are found around our coffee farm. This summer we had a nesting pair of saffron finches on our lanai. They raised 3 hungry chicks and it was exhausting to watch how hard mom and dad had to work to feed them. The finch family flew off and formed up with a large flock out by the road. It was very cute to watch this.
Cattle egrets fearlessly follow me around when I mow between the coffee tree rows with my tractor. They love the fact that I make insects jump out of the grass. Wild turkeys work through the coffee trees eating bugs and leaving piles of fertilizer. “PARROTS!” (sorry but they just flew over) Kalij pheasants are also daily visitors to the coffee farm and several harems call the place home. They have the sweetest little voices and most unusual songs.
My favorite among all the birds I see each day is the golden plover. Each morning I get a steaming cup of coffee (that I grow here on the farm) and go out on the lanai overlooking the fields. Greeting me with a loud chirp is the golden plover as he screams “dweeb!” Some of you might be insulted by this, but I’m not. I am used to being called a “dweeb!” every morning.
The plover is a good-sized bird (12“) and with a 2-foot swept back wingspan and they fly like a F-18 fighter jet. The Hawaiian name for it is “Kolea” meaning, “one who takes and then leaves” (which describes some guests, you know who you are). The interesting thing about this bird is that it is one of the few birds that makes a 3,000 mile non-stop-trans-oceanic journey from Alaska to Hawaii twice a year. “PARROTS!” (THEY JUST FLEW OVER AGAIN!).
The plovers spend May-August nesting in Alaska and then get juiced up on bugs and fly for 2-3 days to their winter paradise here in the islands. I’ve been told that they fly at between 10,000- 20,000 feet at 60 mph. Once here they eat mostly grasshoppers. They can live for about 20 years and are territorial. They choose an area all to themselves and each morning this one who owns this field calls me a “Dweeb!” “PARROTS!”