Posted on 01/10/2012 by Phillip Island Nature Parks
High winds bring shearwaters & celebration
High winds in recent weeks have helped propel an estimated one million short-tailed shearwaters to Phillip Island’s coastline.
Twenty three million short-tailed shearwaters make the migration to southern Australia each year, flying an epic 15 000 kilometres from the Bering Sea near Alaska. The birds will remain until April, making daily fishing trips for krill and small fish and raising one chick.
This year’s return of the birds also marks the lead-up to a significant local event celebrating Indigenous culture.
November’s inaugural ‘Shearwater Festival: Celebrating Biyadin’ will bring together artists, traditional owners and local community members to celebrate Indigenous culture, cross-cultural connections and environmental awareness. Biyadin is the local Boonwurrung/Bunurong word for the shearwaters, also known as mutton bids, moon birds and Yolla.
“The festival is being underpinned by the Indigenous concept of Deep Listening which describes a way of deep and respectful listening which builds community,” said Dr Laura Brearley, coordinator of the festival and the Deep Listening Project.
Festivities, including music, dance, Aboriginal storytelling and art exhibitions, will be held at the Nobbies Centre on Saturday November 24 and Sunday November 25. A ranger guided walk at Cape Woolamai will also be held at sunset and sunrise, giving people an opportunity to witness the spectacle of thousands of birds returning and departing on their daily trips to sea.
Local artists, photographers, poets and musicians are invited to participate in the Shearwater Festival by submitting artworks, photographs, poems or songs that celebrate the shearwaters, the local environment and the global interconnectedness signified by the bird’s migration. Local artist Janice Orchard is curating the exhibition component of the festival.
The Shearwater Festival is being sponsored by a partnership involving Bass Coast Shire Council, Phillip Island Nature Parks, the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages, local schools, businesses and community organisations.
The festival is proudly supported by the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages (VACL), Bass Coast Shire Council, Phillip Island Nature Parks, The Deep Listening Project, local schools and the Artists Society of Phillip Island (ASPI).
Phillip Island Nature Parks helps protect short-tailed shearwaters through predator control programs, habitat management, an annual rescue operation when the young birds are migrating and public education.
Local residents and visitors to Phillip Island can assist the birds by:
- Remaining on beach access tracks to avoid crushing burrows
- Keeping cats inside at night and only walking dogs on designated beaches
- Driving carefully at sunrise and after sunset to avoid any birds that may be on roads, particularly around Woolamai Surf Beach, the Esplanade at Surf Beach and the approach to the Penguin Parade. Wildlife rescue contact: 1300 WILDLIFE.
Dr Laura Brearley. The Shearwater Festival Coordinator
Mobile: 0434 596 800Email: firstname.lastname@example.org