Soft-plumaged Petrel

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Soft-plumaged Petrel
From: "Terry Pacey" <>
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002 06:38:10 +1000
The following appeared in some of today's papers

Terry Pacey

Rare bird now has Aussie link
A RARE seabird has been found breeding in Australia for the first time – on
Tasmania's Maatsuyker Island.

The closest breeding site of the soft-plumaged petrel was previously thought
to be the sub-Antarctic islands of New Zealand.
Department of Primary Industry, Water and Environment wildlife researcher
Alan Wiltshire said that now the birds had been found in Australia they
would be likely to be listed on our threatened species register.

"We've observed the birds at sea near Maatsuyker Island for the past 15
years, but this is the first time we've found them to be breeding," Mr
Wiltshire said.

"One of the difficulties has been the fact that there are an estimated
800,000 pairs of short-tailed shearwaters on Maatsuyker which can make it
difficult to locate low numbers of other species.

"The discovery is another example of why the conservation of Maatsuyker is
so important.

"Despite a history of people using the island, we are fortunate that cats or
rats or other pests which would have impacted on seabird survival have not
become established there."

The birds, which nest in burrows, are now incubating eggs.

Mr Wiltshire says he plans to leave them alone until about April, then see
how many chicks have been produced.

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