MUTTON BIRD RECIPE
The short-tailed shearwater or yolla as it’s also known in Tasmania, is the most abundant seabird species in Australian waters, and is one of the few Australian native birds in which the chicks are commercially harvested. The Harvested chicks are known locally as mutton birds. This migratory species breeds mainly on small islands in Bass strait and Tasmania and migrates to the sub-arctic Northern Hemisphere for the summer.
Each parent feeds the single chick for 2–3 days and then leaves for up to three weeks in search of food. These foraging trips can cover a distance of 1,500 km, this means the chick may be left unattended for over a week. When the chicks fledge they weigh around 900 g and may even be heavier than their parents. In Tasmania, and especially on the mutton bird islands of the Furneaux Group in eastern Bass Strait, the chicks are harvested at this time for food and oil.
Shearwaters are facing the same environmental challenges as other species of migrating sea birds such as ocean warming which effects their migratory routes and with the adult birds foraging for food on the open ocean & mistakenly taking plastic debris for food which they then feed it to their chicks. Thousands of Short-tailed shearwater fledglings are attracted to artificial lights during their maiden flights from nests to the open ocean. Fledglings are vulnerable to injury or death by collisions with human infrastructure and once grounded, to predation or becoming road casualties.