I agree with you again Phillip.
When I was a first year Ranger it was my job to patrol from Vic border
to Maurray mouth along the SE SA beaches, This was about every six
weeks or so and in early spring when they arrive, after a severe storm
or two, sometimes i could collect nEARLY 1000 dying short tailed
shearwaters, starving and enmaciated. The only thing about it that was
less tragic was one day when I returned to base at Southend, S, I was
occupied with doing something else when this little mongrel kid lifted
the lid on a container holding some shearwaters that were resting, and
one latched onto his nose.
We would provide care and feed the Shearwaters with everything that a
mutton bird could likely eat but no matter what we would do, most of
them would die. It wass distressing. This was the late 1970's and
sometimes i would think, unless we could find a solution, one day these
birds will go the same way as the Passenger Pigeon. At that time, it
was considered the second most common bird on the planet. Eclipesed
only by the European Starling. Two years ago after a severe wreck
along then east coast of Tasmania, there was a dead or dying Shearwater
on nearly every part of the visible beach, from Schuten Is to Cape
Portland there must have been many 10s of thousands.
And now it is considered the most common bird on earth so I was wrong.
St Helens, Tasmania 7216
Philip Veerman wrote:
This has always happened. Do you know if they are also vulnerable to eating
plastic rubbish? As are some other sea birds. If so, surely that would
drastically increase the natural problems of being exhausted and
underweight. If they are found dead, this could be investigated or maybe
already has been............. I don't know.
On Behalf Of Janine Duffy
Sent: Wednesday, 23 October 2013 3:42 PM
Subject: [Birding-Aus] more dead Short-tailed Shearwaters
There are several dead or dying Short-tailed Shearwaters on my local beach,
Port Melbourne. I have one in care right now (weight 420g). There are also
about 20 near shore, still alive and swimming, but probably exhausted and
underweight. I was on Kerferd Rd pier earlier watching them, and on a whim
asked the nearby fisherman for a fish scrap. I threw it to the nearest
shearwater, which took it readily.
I don't know if this is appropriate or not, but is it worth trying to
prevent a few deaths by looking out for exhausted but still living birds
near piers or boats and offering food (fish)? Surely these still living
birds have the best chance of recovery - waiting until they wash up and
rushing them to overworked wildlife carers is a bit like closing the door
after the horse has bolted.
Also, could Vic birders check their local beaches for beach-washed, still
living birds? They are vulnerable to dog attack if left on the beach. A
cardboard box with a towel is a good transport option. Take to local
wildlife carer, or vet. Call wildlife victoria 13 000 94535 or Aware
(Frankston area) on 0412 433 727 .
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