Story: Bird migration

Godwits in flight

Godwits in flight

Before the development of international communication, the mysterious seasonal arrival and departure of thousands of migratory birds, such as these bar-tailed godwits, raised questions as to where they went. Nests, eggs or chicks of certain species are never seen in New Zealand. Māori believed that they returned to Hawaiki, the spiritual homeland, to breed. Godwits may have guided the first Polynesian settlers across the Pacific towards New Zealand.

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Photograph by Brian Chudleigh

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How to cite this page:

Christina Troup, 'Bird migration - The phenomenon of migration', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 14 June 2024)

Story by Christina Troup, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 17 Feb 2015