The first godwits of the season have returned to Canterbury. About 280 arrived over the weekend and spotted at the Avon-Heathcote Estuary and at Lake Ellesmere.
The bar-tailed godwits usually arrive in New Zealand in September after flying more than 11,000km non-stop from Alaska.
They spend spring and summer in the region where they rest, feed and roost in the estuary and wetlands.
The Christchurch City Council is asking dog owners to keep their pets on leashes so they do not disturb the birds.