The conservation team at Phillip Island Nature Parks and the Penguin Foundation are delighted to see the Short-tailed Shearwaters returning to Phillip Island (Millowl). We are well and truly ready for them. While the migratory Short-tailed Shearwater birds, also known as 'mutton birds', have spent our winter up in the northern-hemisphere feeding in the waters off Alaska, we’ve been working hard to make sure their nesting sites are ready upon their return. Last week we started seeing the first of these incredible birds returning from their 16,000km trip and they’re now back in full force to renovate their burrows and mate. In late November, they will lay one egg in a sand dune burrow. The egg hatches in mid-January and the parents feed the chick before beginning their migration back to the northern hemisphere in mid-April. The fat, fluffy chick is left behind until it grows its ‘adult’ feathers and begins the migration weeks after the adults leave. If you are visitor or resident on Phillip Island, you can help our shearwaters by always sticking to the path to avoid crushing their fragile sand-dune burrows and keeping pet cats and dogs out of nesting habitat. Although they are incredible at flying, they are extremely clumsy and vulnerable on land. Follow the video link to find out more about Phillip Island Nature Parks' revegetation activities on Short-tailed shearwater nesting sites.
If you would like to help raise funds to protect these fascinating birds, you can donate or adopt a Short-tailed shearwater through the Penguin Foundation website.