Migrating Shearwaters Coming Ashore On Our Beaches

Local wildlife carers are having calls to rescue shearwaters currently coming ashore on our beaches. Several have been collected over the past 2 days. These birds need specialist care and to get to a vet or Taronga Zoo. 

If you find one please call Sydney Wildlife on 9413 4300 or Wires on 1300 094 737. 

Please – keep your dogs off the beaches.  These birds are vulnerable in NSW and have no defence against dog attacks. Thank you. 

Four species breed on islands off the NSW coast and on beaches and further south, even to Tasmanian islands.

Each year:

  • the flesh-footed shearwater returns from the seas off Japan and Siberia to the same nesting burrows on Lord Howe Island – this species is listed as vulnerable in NSW
  • the sooty shearwater returns from the North Pacific Ocean and Southern Ocean to breed in small numbers on islands south of Port Stephens
  • wedge-tailed shearwaters return from the North Pacific to their burrows on islands off the coast of NSW
  • short-tailed shearwaters breed on islands along the eastern and southern coastlines of Australia, from the central coast of NSW to Western Australia. [1.]

Shearwaters lay only a single egg in burrows and rock crevices or less commonly, under grass, bushes or sometimes in the open. Many species spend the day feeding out at sea and only return to their nests at night. Some species, like the short-tailed shearwater, gather together in the afternoon before flying ashore at dusk.

Shearwaters travel far and wide to places such as Antarctica, Siberia, Japan, South America and New Zealand. This often puts their lives in danger. After gales or during food shortages, dead birds are often found along the coast. In some years, enormous numbers of short-tailed shearwaters can be found dying or dead on the beaches along the coast of NSW.

They migrate south during Spring, from late September through October, and return north during Autumn, late April through May.

Source: Pittwater Online News

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