The Short-tailed Shearwater or Slender-billed Shearwater (Puffinus tenuirostris), also called Yolla or Moonbird, and commonly known as the muttonbird in Australia, is the most abundant seabird species in Australian waters.
Over the past couple of days many 100’s have died and are washed up on the Port Melbourne Beaches.
An explanation of this from Neil Blake of the Eco centre is below.
“The birds are muttonbirds aka short-tailed shearwaters returning from the north pacific for their breeding season in coastal rookeries in southern Australia. Mass deaths of the species in this season occur from time to time (every 10 years or so) but this is the worst I’ve seen. We have just had the windiest October in 34 years.
I’ve weighed 7 of the birds and 5 were 100 gr below minimum weight; 2 just above minimum. So starvation/exhaustion is right. But it’s also worth noting several studies have found this specie ingests micro-plastics. This will inevitably be a contributing factor if the flow of plastics in the world’s waterways is not reduced.”