The Settlement Point viewing platform at Emita is ideal to watch the Shearwaters (Mutton birds) return to their burrows at dusk from November to April after a day of feeding far out at sea.
The Short Tailed Shearwater, more commonly known as the Mutton-Bird is a member of a group of 100 medium to large sea birds in the family Procellariae.
The breeding period for these birds is September through to April; they breed in burrows that are about 1 metre long. In November, after spending the last couple of months meeting up with their mate and tidying up their burrow, the mutton birds leave the colony for a short time to feed before returning to lay a single egg. The chicks hatch in late January with both parents participating in its feeding and care. The parents leave the down covered chicks in early April and the chicks do not eat again until early May, so they rapidly loose weight as they acquire their flight feathers. 2-3 weeks after the parents have left the fledglings will begin their first migratory flight unassisted by experienced birds.
The average life span of these birds is 15-19 years with some living to 38.
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