Mutton Birds

Subject: Mutton Birds
From: "Mark Carey" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2006 14:57:03 +1000
I'm studying the Short-tailed Shearwater as part of a PhD on Great Dog Island in the Furneaux Group, Tasmania. Yes there is an annual commercial and recreational harvest of the birds in late March to late April on some of the islands. I think the current commercial harvest levels are around 300,000 chicks for all of Tassie. The number used to be up around the 1 million mark a few decades ago. Current population estimates are around 23 million breeding birds so no, they are not threatened.

I was able to taste them earlier this year and they were great. A fishy quail I would describe the taste, beautiful on the BBQ.


From: Fairy Wren <>
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Mutton Birds
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2006 12:00:40 +1000 (EST)

Did my ears deceive me, or did I REALLY hear the presenter of ABC Radio National's 'Bush Telegraph' this morning ask listeners to send in their recipes for muttonbird?

I only caught a snatch of this broadcast, so it may have been a running gag in rather poor taste for us birdos, or an irresponsible joke from this normally sensible, worthwhile & interesting programme. I do hope I misheard or misconstrued, and if so, abject apologies to the ABC, who broadcast some great features about birds. The presenter commented that he didn't know whether or not muttonbirds are protected. I guess if enough people sent in recipes, they soon would be...

My mind utterly boggles at things like this. Whatever next? Recipes for Pot Roast Australasian Bittern with a wild orchid coulis? Orange-bellied parrot pie with QLD bananas? Eeeeeew...

  Did anyone else hear it, and can they confirm/clarify?

  [ Whew, that feels better - rant over now. :) :(  ]


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