Posted on 04/04/2016 by Phillip Island Nature Parks
Shearwater rescue preparation begins
The annual short-tailed shearwater migration is anticipated to begin in mid-April, and Phillip Island Nature Parks is seeking community support to ensure the safe passage of the birds.
“We expect most of the shearwater chicks will depart sometime between April 18 and May 8,” said Jodi Bellett, wildlife rescue and rehabilitation officer at Phillip Island Nature Parks.
“During that time birds may be on roads as they learn to fly. We urge drivers to take care.”
The birds are known to flock to the San Remo bridge lights. As in past years, the bridge lights will be switched off for a few nights around April 25 during the peak of departure. Signs will be placed at either end to warn drivers of the changed traffic conditions.
“We thank SP AusNet, Vic Roads and Bass Coast Shire Council for their assistance in ensuring the safe migration of the birds from Phillip Island.”
Nature Parks staff will be patrolling areas where the birds land on roads, particularly around Surf Beach, Cape Woolamai and near the Penguin Parade.
Since the inception of the Shearwater Rescue Patrol in 1999, thousands of birds have been saved from the roads as they attempt to fly. Community support has been instrumental in reducing the number of shearwaters killed or injured on roads.
About short tailed shearwaters:
Short-tailed shearwaters arrive on Phillip Island in September and spend the summer raising their single chick in a sand dune burrow. They undertake one of the most incredible migrations, flying 16,000km to feed near Alaska during our winter. Adults begin migration in mid-April, the chicks leave two weeks later with no guidance. Many chicks are killed each year on the roads at night. Shearwater Rescue is an initiative to reduce these deaths.