Posted on 24/01/2014 by Phillip Island Nature Parks
Motorists are being urged to slow down in Cape Woolamai after 10 dead shearwaters were found on the road to the surf beach early on Wednesday January 23.
The birds were discovered by a ranger from Phillip Island Nature Parks who had been up to Cape Woolamai reserve at first light.
“The ranger had noticed approximately 50 live birds on the drive in toward the Surf Life Saving Club car park, but on the drive out a short time later came across 10 dead shearwaters along the road,” Dr Roz Jessop, environment manager, said.
Good swell and high tides are thought to have drawn early morning visitors to the Cape Woolamai surf beach. With the likelihood of similar conditions while shearwaters are in the area, rangers are urging drivers to slow down and exercise caution when driving through the shearwater colony at dawn, dusk or at night.
“It’s an unnecessary tragedy to have so many birds killed in the same area in such a short space of time,” Dr Jessop said.
Cape Woolamai is home to the largest population of Phillip Island’s shearwaters and it’s not uncommon for the birds to be on roads. The approach to the colony, where the birds were found, has signage warning motorists of possible shearwaters. Light blue lines across the road also help motorists spot the dark birds against the asphalt.
The shearwaters are believed to have recently completed incubating their eggs so both parents are likely to be around or changing over as they feed their chick. Parents will begin their migration to the Aleutian Islands near Alaska in April. The chicks will fledge two to three weeks later and begin their first migration with the aid of strong westerly winds.
Ms Danene Jones - Communications Executive
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Dead shearwaters prompt calls for motorists to slow down