Byron birds picked up
WITH thousands of dead and dying shearwaters on North Coast beaches, one local group has stepped in to rid part of one beach of the smelly bird corpses.
The Byron Bay Stingray Group gathers at 8am each day to swim from The Pass to the surf club on Main Beach. The members turned one pre-swim walk to good use, donning rubber gloves to pick up the mutton bird carcasses left at the high water mark.
They cleaned a section of beach from the surf club to the rock outcrop just before The Pass.
Byron Bay Surf Club lent the Stingrays their tractor, Byron Skip Hire donated a skip and in an hour they filled a trailer.
"The lifesavers were getting complaints from beachgoers about the sight and smell," said co-ordinator Savaard Wells.
"We decided we wouldn't whinge about it and just get on with cleaning it up."
This year a large number of birds died on their southerly migration to nesting grounds.
Australian Seabird Rescue general manager Kath Southwell said the deaths were "unfortunate, but natural".
"Every year along the East Coast, exhausted shearwaters wash ashore and often die following their annual migration," she said.
Shearwaters can fly more than 15,000km for their migration and if they encounter severe weather or have trouble locating sufficient fish along the way, they struggle to survive.
Some shearwaters have been banded by researchers.