A watchful eye for muttonbirds
EVERY year, wedge-tailed shearwater fledglings (muttonbirds) leave the safety of their burrows on Muttonbird Island for their first migration north, but with it comes challenges.
The departing fledglings are meant to follow the light of the moon out to sea but many become distracted by the lights of the city and fly west, landing them in trouble.
They have been located as far west as Bellingen, however the most common landing spots over the past few years have been the Coffs Harbour marina area, Harbour Drive and Park Beach.
For the next three weeks, WIRES volunteers will patrol these areas every night for lost fledglings but are calling on the public to do their part if they come across one.
The muttonbird fledglings cannot fend for themselves and WIRES asks anyone finding an exhausted or injured bird to follow the rescue tips below.
— Approach quietly from behind,
— Encircle body and wings with a towel, keeping clear of the beak,
— Place in a cardboard box and keep in a quiet location out of the sun,
— Do not feed the bird or give water for the short period before they are released,
— Call WIRES on 1300 094 737,
— Deliver the bird to any of the specified drop off points.
Drop off points:
— Fishermen’s Co-op (rear of building),
— Galley cafe next to Fishermen’s Co-op,
— NPWS- Coffs Coast Area office, 32 Marina Drive (inner Harbour wall),
— Yacht Club, under entry stairs.
WIRES volunteers will be collecting the birds twice a day from these drop off points.