Harsh forces of nature hammer mutton bird migration

Mutton birds have been washing up dead on Tweed beaches.
Mutton birds have been washing up dead on Tweed beaches. Blainey Woodham

NATURE can be so harsh sometimes.

Mutton birds on their grueling migration to the south-east coast of Australia, have to go for long periods of time without food on their journey and the simple fact is some of them just don't make it.

On their annual migration from Siberia to Australia the birds, also known as short-tailed shearwaters, travel about 12,000km and many die from exhaustion, injuries or starvation.

Weather events like wind patterns and storms are a big factor in the successful annual migration of our fine feathered friends.

This year's journey ended badly for several hundred mutton birds that have washed up dead or dying on beaches all along the east coast.

Concerned beach goers have been reporting dead birds in large numbers washing up on the Tweed Coast over the last week.

Although a sad event it is a relief to know the birds were not poisoned by any contaminant in the air or water, rather were just unlucky with strong headwinds and storms which would have blown them of course and affected the weaker birds in the flock.

It is not all doom and gloom though, many mutton birds made the trip successfully and are replenishing their energy levels, feeding on squid and fish on the surface of the ocean.

Topics:  editors picks mutton birds

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