bird on the wing

The shearwater is the most abundant Australian seabird. Approximately 23 million short-tailed shearwaters breed in about 285 colonies in south-eastern Australia from September to April. Eighteen million of these arrive in Tasmania each year. There are known to be at least 167 colonies in Tasmania and an estimated 11.4 million burrows. The largest colony is on Babel Island which has three million burrows. Their colonies are usually found on headlands and islands covered with tussocks and succulent vegetation such as pigface and iceplant. Headlands allow for easy take off and landing.

 

Early accounts suggest that the population was once considerably higher. In 1798, Matthew Flinders estimated that there were at least one hundred million birds within a single flock sighted in Bass Strait.

Their migratory path is difficult to define because they don't come to shore during the months of the migration. Exhausted and starved birds are often washed up on beaches of Japan, the Aleution Islands, North America and Australia. Originally this led scientists to believe that the birds flew a figure of eight course across the Pacific Ocean. Recent studies suggest the majority of birds merely fly north along the western part of the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic region and return southwards through the centre of the ocean. Either way the birds travel about 15 000 kilometres in each direction annually. They have been known to fly this remarkable distance in six weeks.

 

http://www.parks.tas.gov.au

 

Der Kurschwanz-Sturmtaucher brütet in Australien, an den Ufern des Festlandes, Tasmanien und auf den umliegenden Inseln.  Allein an der tasmanischen Küste leben etwa 18 Millionen Individuen.

 

Die Paarungszeit dauert von September bis April. Überwiegend bleiben sich die Paare treu. Die Vögel graben Erdhöhlen und meist befinden sich die Höhlen unter Grasbüscheln. Ende November legt das Weibchen ein einziges weißes Ei, das beide Altvögel abwechselnd bebrüten. In der Regel brütet das Männchen in den ersten fünfzehn Tagen und das Weibchen die restliche Zeit. Während der Brutzeit nehmen die Vögel kaum Nahrung zu sich. Ende Januar, etwa nach 53 Tagen, schlüpft das Küken und wird von den Eltern bis Anfang April reichlich mit Nahrung versorgt.  Im Winter migriert der Kurzschwanz-Sturmtaucher bis nach Alaska und bis zur Beringsee.

 

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