Bar-tailed godwits have started to arrive in Christchurch, having completed their annual 11,000 kilometre, non-stop journey from the Arctic Circle.
The bells of Christchurch Cathedral will ring on Wednesday to welcome the birds, whose arrival is traditionally seen as a sign of spring. They take up to nine days to travel from Alaska each September.
One of the 40 godwits spotted so far by city council rangers is a female that was tagged in December last year.
Up to 2000 are expected at the Avon-Heathcote Estuary over the next few weeks. There are also reports of godwits in Auckland and Manawatu.