Shark Liver Oil as a Seabird Deterent

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Shark Liver Oil as a Seabird Deterent
From: "Roger Giller" <>
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 11:47:02 +1000
Hi All,

I know this was the subject of a previous thread but I was on digest mail 
delivery at the time and could not add my two penneth-worth. Now back on 
individual delivery and waited a while but no more messages on the thread so I 
resurrected it.

In my earlier, pre-birding, days I used do a reasonable amount of off-shore 
fishing from small boats. One technique we used was to berley with cut up 
pilchards and small pieces of tuna etc. We were often plagued by "Mutton Birds" 
which, when we thought we knew something about birds and wanted to show off, we 
used to call Shearwaters. For a time we were not even aware that there are 
different species of Shearwaters! How things have changed.

Anyhow, the birds would cluster around the back of the boat, stealing the 
berley before it had time to sink and also chasing our baits with a very real 
risk of being hooked. Our solution was to set up a slow drip of tuna oil to 
create a slick behind the boat. We observed that most of the birds would not 
alight on the water in the slick and  any that did would swim out of it and sit 
on the water preening themselves vigorously. It was our belief that the oil, 
even though in a very small quantity, was enough to upset the birds 

Perhaps it is the "oiliness" of the shark liver oil and not the shark odour 
that keeps the birds away.

Roger Giller

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