They've become a conservation institution, but the Sunshine Coast's "Twinnies" and their efforts to protect sea birds could be on borrowed time.
The Powers family – spearheaded by twin sisters Paula and Bridgette – have been rescuing and rehabilitating birds since moving to the Sunshine Coast about 14 years ago.
|Paula and Bridgette Powers run Twinnies Pelican and Seabird|
Rescue at Landsborough on the Sunshine Coast.
Their work takes them as far north as Gladstone and south to northern New South Wales.
And there are near constant reminders of the need for what they do.
Last week, a handful of sea birds felt the brunt of a 1.4 kilometre oil slick at the Port of Brisbane, near the mouth of the Brisbane River.
At least five oil-slicked birds were found, and wildlife officers searching for others.
"At the moment, we're glad we're not involved in the oil spill because we have so many pelicans in care with injuries sustained from line and hook entanglement and internal tackle," the twins' older sister Michelle Powers said.
"It's really busy for us at the moment."
For Paula, the love affair with sea birds began when she saw a pelican get rescued shortly after the family moved to Queensland in the late 1990s.
Since then, Twinnies Pelican and Seabird Rescue has rescued thousands of birds, including 1846 last year alone.
Michelle said it cost about $84,000 last year to run the facility – "and that was on a shoestring budget" – with most of the money coming from the family's own pockets.
"We do get some donations here and there from a couple of people who support us. They're not large donations, but they're regular donations," she said.
"We had a fund raising event and raised a small amount of money to purchase some fish, which it did, but that only lasted two weeks.