Bird stikes - Wilsons Promontory (Aust.)

Subject: Bird stikes - Wilsons Promontory (Aust.)
Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 10:03:36 +1000

From: Martin  on 05/14/2002 10:03 AM

Subject:  Bird stikes - Wilsons Promontory (Aust.)

Further to David Geering's comments on the incidence of bird strike in

In 1997 a team of various biologists, including myself, were down at Wilsons
Promontory National Park (far southern tip of Victoria) doing a flora and fauna
survey (which turned up several new species, mostly mammals) for the Prom.

At one stage we were down at the Lighthouse which is just short of the southern
most tip in Australia (at South Point a few km further west).  The lighthouse
keeper at that time (now retired) explained to us how he remembers the
Wedge-tailed Shearwaters (Puffinus pacificus) in particular crashing into the
light in the early years of his service there, before the light intensity of the
beacon was reduced and changed to automatic electric (from kerosene I believe).

My impression was that numbers of birds killed was substantial enough (in the
early years) for shipwreck survivors to survive on them before re-supplies could
be delivered.  He also mentioned observing birdlife, some species only known as
result of strikes with the beacon.  'The Prom' is a major route for birdlife
moving between mainland Australia and Tasmania and would be a wonderful locality
to reside at for a few months bird observation.  A downside of the lighthouse
staff observations I understand is that most of it has never been formally
recorded on any database.  Much information is in people's heads.


Martin O'Brien
Executive Scientific Officer, Scientific Advisory Committee
Department of Natural Resources and Environment
4/250 Victoria Pde., East Melbourne  3002  AUSTRALIA

Tel: 9412 4567  Fax: 9412 4586
(prefixes: Interstate 03 International 613)

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