19 April, 2024

Protecting the Shearwaters

EVERY year the Short-tailed Shearwaters from Griffiths Island in Port Fairy embark on an extraordinary migration.

By Staff Writer

Protecting the Shearwaters - feature photo

Their journey takes them more than 15,000 kilometres to the Aleutian Islands.

The fledglings take off a few weeks after their parents, and are vulnerable to predation during this time.

Moyne Shire Council is working closely with the Friends of Griffiths Island volunteer group (FOGI) to give the Shearwaters the best chance of migrating successfully.

FOGI launched its ‘Switch off for Shearwaters’ program at Port Fairy Community House last Saturday morning, which included a smoking ceremony by Eastern Maar.

The program encourages residents to actively help the fledglings on their journey by doing the following (until Wednesday, May 15):

Switch off external house lighting.

Shield bright external lights.

Keep an eye out for young Shearwaters landing in unusual places, in and around town.

Ensure domestic cats are kept indoors at

night and consider joining FOGI as a volunteer.

Lighting at the island’s entrance rotunda will be switched off by council during this period.

Council will also undertake proactive fox control measures to help protect the fledgling Short tailed Shearwaters as they get ready for their first migration.

The first fox shoot with professional contractors took place last Monday, April 15.

“Data from the past few years showed us which dates had the most kills from foxes, so we undertook a shoot last Monday to give the fledglings the best chance of survival,” Cr Smith said.

“Council’s environment team is getting on the front foot to minimise fox predation of the fledglings.”

A second fox shoot will be held later in the month to coincide with expected peak fox activity.

Details will be advised when confirmed.

Members of the public are asked to avoid the area during the shoots.

Safety officers will be on site to prevent public access to the area and Victoria Police have been notified.

“We encourage the community to support the Shearwaters by switching off external lights at home and staying clear of the island during the fox shoot,” Cr Smith said.


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