Short-tailed shearwater or ‘mutton birds’ are on their annual 10,000 kilometre non-stop migration from northern Russia to rookeries in Victoria and South Australia.
Bad weather on this long and exhausting journey can take its toll on the birds.
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has received reports of the birds being found on Queensland beaches –some completely exhausted and many have died.
Over the next few months, dead or exhausted birds may be found along the Queensland coast.Anyone who finds a dead bird on the beaches is advised, as a precaution, not to handle the bird.
This is not the first time this has occurred. Thousands of short-tailed shearwater birds were found dead around Moreton Bay in 2011 and Fraser Island in 2006.
Tests at that time confirmed that they died from exhaustion and starvation as a consequence of the migration. Exhausted and starved birds are also known to wash up on the beaches of Japan, the Aleutian Islands and North America.
This is part of nature asmore than a million migratory birds travel enormous distances to and from Australia each year, often feeding and roosting alongside resident species on our coast, coral cays and islands.