Friday, April 8, 2011

This mutton bird will miss the migration flight to Alaska

On April 18, around 2 million adult mutton birds will leave Phillip Island and head off across the Pacific Ocean to the Bering Sea, near Alaska. Three weeks later their fully-fledged chicks will leave too; the migration flight encoded in their genes.

This photo, however, shows one adult mutton bird who won't be setting out on its migration flight. Although we live alongside a mutton bird rookery and walk the beach most days, dead mutton birds are a rare sight. In fact, this is the first I've seen since December.

On September 26 the mutton birds will arrive back on Phillip Island to dig out their burrows, mate and begin yet another reproductive cycle.

These migratory seabirds fly an extraordinary 32,000 km flight across the Pacific Ocean -- but they call Phillip Island home.

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