Phillip Island lies simply 90 minutes away from town of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. Regardless of being so close to to considered one of Australia’s most populous city areas, Phillip Island is an ecotourism hub which boasts an array of distinctive and interesting wildlife. Maybe probably the most well-known Phillip Island residents are its Little Penguins. Residence to the most important Little Penguin colony on this planet, Phillip Island permits guests to view these penguins up shut throughout their nightly “Penguin Parades,” whereby guests can watch because the Little Penguin colonies waddle up onto the seashores after a day of fishing at sea.
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Vacationers could also be much less accustomed to Phillip Island’s Brief-tailed Shearwater inhabitants, however, just like the Little Penguin colony, these birds rely on the protected habitats of Phillip Island so as to survive and thrive.
Brief-tailed Shearwaters are migratory seabirds. They arrive on Phillip Island in September and spend the winter nesting and incubating the only egg that every pair sometimes lays. In January, these eggs hatch and the younger spend the late winter and early spring months maturing and making ready for the upcoming migration. In April, the grownup Brief-tailed Shearwaters start their migration again to the islands off of Alaska the place they spend their summers. The younger chicks spend a number of extra weeks maturing after which observe their mother and father on this migration route.
Studying to fly and making an attempt to affix the migration is usually a treacherous time for younger Brief-tailed Shearwaters. Many depend on luck, ready for robust sufficient winds to hold them into the primary leg of their journey. All through late April and Could, Brief-tailed Shearwater chicks are sometimes discovered on roads or residential areas all through Phillip Island. As a result of they use the moon to navigate, synthetic lights from houses, vehicles, and streets will be disorienting and might result in Brief-tailed Shearwater chicks changing into misplaced or injured. Due to this, residents and guests to Phillip Island are being requested to concentrate on pointless synthetic lighting, to chop down on such lighting the place potential, and to drive with warning.
The 2022/2023 breeding season has been very profitable. Reportedly, as a lot as 80 p.c of this yr’s nesting makes an attempt have resulted in a wholesome chick. That is the second largest new crop of Brief-tailed Shearwater chicks on Phillip Island in at the least a decade. Whereas that is clearly excellent news, profitable breeding means little if the chicks are unable to affix up with the migrating adults. For that reason, many native companies have dedicated to turning out the lights and warnings are posted on the roadways to alert drivers of the probability of encountering misplaced birds. Rangers and volunteers will even be patrolling Phillip Island, trying to find Brief-tailed Shearwater chicks in peril and rescuing them from roads the place they’re particularly susceptible.
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