A young muttonbird tests its wings in preparation for its long migratory flight. Leigh Jensen
A young muttonbird tests its wings in preparation for its long migratory flight. Leigh Jensen

Wires nursing fallen muttonbirds back to health

COFFS Harbour's newest wedge-tailed shearwaters have started to fledge, with WIRES volunteers already offering refuge to some who have had a bumpy start to their life on the wing.

The young muttonbirds have started leaving their burrows on Muttonbird Island for their first migration north on cue.

Their parents departed earlier this month, leaving their young still covered in down and fending for themselves.

They've been rapidly losing weight as they have acquired their flight feathers.

The 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. Once they land they cannot lift off again without being in an elevated position, such as Muttonbird Island, they become sitting targets for cars and foxes.

The fledglings have been located as far west as Bellingen, however the most common landing spots over the past few years have been near the Deep Sea Fishing Club, the Marina, Harbour Drive and Park Beach

Anyone who finds an en exhausted or injured Muttonbird should cover it with a towel, put it into a box and call WIRES on 66527119.



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