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The bird truck: Fowl funeral for shearwaters

November 10, 2013

Photos and words by Mic Smith

The bird truck traipses up the beach from Miami to Surfers Paradise picking up dead birds.

The sad end to hundreds of Australia’s grittiest birds, short tailed shearwaters, has created a day’s overtime for these council workers on Saturday.

The foul smelling bird truck weaves up the beach collecting the shearwaters into sacks, to gentrify the glitter strip for Gold Coast holiday makers.

While this truck cleaned up the dead birds between Miami and The Spit, another truck went from Miami south to Snapper Rocks. Between them they picked up 700 kgs or about 2100 birds.

While millions of the birds are already home excavating their nests on islands in the Tasman Sea after flying right round the Pacific, these ones just didn’t make the 30,000 km round trip.

Though it’s poetically tragic to see these tough young birds wash up and die, there is nothing poetic about this send off.


  1. Mel B permalink

    That is so sad. It really brings home what a difficult task they have migrating each year. Poor little loves.

    • Hi Mel,
      A lot of people share your feelings. Such a long way and such high performance flyers. One of the beach inspectors has seen many of them flop awkwardly on the beach for a few hours, he’s basically written them off but they have recovered and winged away without any assistance. they are tough little buggers.

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