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Shearwater wreck update: Over 2000 dead birds removed from GC beaches

December 20, 2013


The 2013 spring has been a bad one for the short tailed shearwaters or mutton birds returning from their 30,000km migration north.

Thousands died of hunger and exhaustion and their bodies littered the beaches on the east coast.

This truck picked up birds from the Gold Coast’s Miami beach to Southport while another truck cleaned beaches from Miami south to Snapper Rocks.

One of the workers reported that between them that day on November 9 the Gold Coast City Council picked up 700 kg of birds or an estimated 2100 individuals.

The beaches south of Miami were the worst.

Both trucks were not prepared for the high numbers of dead shearwaters. They ran out of sacks and had to employ an open trailer.

That doesn’t account for all the birds that died as it wasn’t the only cleanup this spring.

Most of the shearwaters have now returned to their nesting grounds on islands in Bass Strait, but some of the very last stragglers are still passing.

  1. G’day Mic, Cool blog! Hey, I’m interested- you say the birds died because of starvation and exhaustion. Is this a normal occurrence, or did something prevent them from getting adequate rest and food?

    • It happens from time to time naturally, I guess its a part of natural selection. They know the birds are hungry and exhausted. It could be unfavorable winds, lack of food. They want to find out more. As Philip said the wreck this year isn’t significant, but what could be significant is that these wrecks might occur more often.

    • Thanks for the question. Yes big wrecks like this are part of the natural order but if they start happening more often then there’s room for concern. Cheers Mic

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