The Short Tailed Shearwater, more commonly known as the Mutton-Bird is a member of a group of 100 medium to large sea birds in the family Procellariae.There is a viewing platform located at Port Davies where you can watch the birds fly at dusk from November to April.
Their beak is hooked on the end to allow them to hold prey, the chicks produce large amounts of oil in their stomach which is high in energy. The adult birds have a wing span of about 1 metre and weigh about 500 grams. They have webbed feet and their legs are placed well back on the body, while their wings are long and narrow for efficient high-speed gliding. Eighteen million of these amazing birds arrive in Tasmania every year with their largest colony (over 3 million burrows) being on Babel Island. The migratory path of these birds is hard to define as they do not come ashore during their migration, but it has been proven that they travel about 15,000 kilometres in each direction (north and south) annually.
The breeding period for these birds is September through to April; they breed in burrows that are about 1 metre long. In November, after spending the last couple of months meeting up with their mate and tidying up their burrow, the mutton birds leave the colony for a short time to feed before returning to lay a single egg. The chicks hatch in late January with both parents participating in its feeding and care. The parents leave the down covered chicks in early April and the chicks do not eat again until early May, so they rapidly loose weight as they acquire their flight feathers. 2-3 weeks after the parents have left the fledglings will begin their first migratory flight unassisted by experienced birds.
The average life span of these birds is 15-19 years with some living to 38.
Local operators run evening boat trips to watch the flight of the Mutton-Birds during the summer months of the year.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Adventure, Beach, Cultural, Educational, Flora and Fauna, Island, Marine, Nature based, Tasmania, Wildlife