Birds, wonderful birds!

A lot of you would know that Bonorong has recently built a wonderful 'Seabird Rehabilitation Facility' that has been desperately needed in Tasmania. The enclosure (complete with a large salt water swimming pool) has been designed so that it is big enough to be able to successfully rehabilitate a wide array of species but more importantly can accommodate large seabirds such as albatross, giant petrels and crested penguins too. This year we have had the privilege of rehabilitating two species of giant petrel - one southern and one northern. These magnificent birds weigh in at around 5kg and have a wing span of approximately 2metres!

Both the petrels were successfully rehabilitated in our care and were released back to sea, which was an amazing experience for all involved! The picture below is of 'Crew' the northern giant petrel at his release site (just before he took off actually!) and what a charming, inquisitive character he was!

Our seabird rehabilitation enclosure is an off display area at the Sanctuary because we need to keep the birds away from humans while they recover in our care. The enclosure can be viewed from a distance though, so just check with the keepers what we have in rehab at the time of your visit.

And for all you bird lovers out there then please read the flyer below and follow the link to find out more info about the upcoming Bruny Island Bird Festival! It is on for four days at the end of October and there are some fantastic activities and talks for people of all ages to get involved with! You will be supporting a great cause and we are sure you will learn things about birds that you didn't know before! http://www.bien.org.au/

Shearwater season at Bonorong!

Many of you may be unaware but this time of the year is known to all the staff at Bonorong as 'Shearwater season'. The Shearwaters surprised us this year as they have been a little behind schedule but since late last week we have had 23 come in to our care, which understandably has been keeping us very busy!

Short-tailed Shearwaters (also known as Mutton Birds) are a remarkable little seabird and at this time of the year they are preparing for their annual migration to the Arctic region.  These birds (that weigh a mere 500g) will fly over 15,000 km to get to their destination and after a few months of feeding on rich foods they will make the return flight home (yep another casual 15,000km!!)  They return back to some parts of mainland Australia and Tassie to breed.

You might be asking why are they coming into care then?  Well what happens is the fledgling chicks are usually the ones that end up in our care as they are taking off for the first time.  A lot of them get a little off course and can crash land or some haven't managed to get enough food before the big journey and are simply underweight.  Both cases are usually dehydrated and need short term care to get them back on track and then released so that they can get on their way!

If you do find a Shearwater over the next couple of weeks then please call us as soon as possible so that we can get the bird re-hydrated and in to our Seabird Rehabilitation Enclosure. Bonorong's 24 hour wildlife rescue hotline is 0447 264 625.