As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday 21 October 2013

Migration mystery - Mutton bird chicks fly 8000 miles without parents

Victoria's shearwater arrive back from North Pacific for breeding season 
October 2013. Shearwaters, or ‘Mutton Birds' as they are often called, have arrived back in Australia at Victoria's Port Fairy breeding ground after completing their long migration south from wintering grounds in the northern Pacific. 

Department of Environment Senior Biodiversity Officer Mandy Watson said: "The Short-tailed Shearwaters (Puffinus tenuirostris), with their instinctive timing, reach the breeding ground promptly on or close to 22 September."

Return promptly to same burrow
"Shearwaters come in their thousands from the northern hemisphere summer feeding grounds off Alaska and Siberia. For more than 35 years they have arrived at the same time within a few days, returning to the same burrow each time," Ms Watson said.

Feed & breed
"They feed on fish and other seafood, tend to be more active at night, and generally mate with the same partner for life. After arriving, they clean out the burrows and mate, then the entire population flies off to sea for about two weeks before returning to lay eggs. They lay one white egg that generally hatches in seven weeks."

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