FAWNA rescuers take in exhausted seabirds

An exhausted White Tern was found in a driveway at Forster over the weekend.
An exhausted White Tern was found in a driveway at Forster over the weekend.

The heavy rain and wild weather that hit the Mid North Coast on the weekend might have provided some much-needed relief from the drought, but it proved treacherous for seabirds in the region.

FAWNA southern bird coordinator, Gail Whitwell, said while she only took in one seabird in the Great Lakes, rescuers in Port Macquarie had had a number of exhausted seabirds delivered to their care.

A Sooty Tern was also rescued at Old Bar.

"The weather conditions with the seabirds - with the storms and rains and winds - knocks them off course and makes them exhausted," Mrs Whitwell said.

"Particularly the ones that are coming from Lord Howe and Norfolk Island."

Mrs Whitwell took in a White Tern on Sunday morning after it was found laying in a driveway in Tuncurry.

Despite her best efforts, she was unable to save the bird.

"It died," she said.

"It's really hard to get them back on their feet. They can't fly. They're exhausted."

Considered vulnerable in NSW, the White Tern only breeds on Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island.

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BirdLife NSW woodland bird program manager and seabird enthusiast, Mick Roderick, said while heavy weather had always knocked seabirds off course, this latest low pressure system had hit them particularly hard.

He said two seabirds had been found in Canberra, which was unheard of.

But while it was generally only wild weather that drove seabirds to land, Mr Roderick said large numbers of Sooty Terns had been observed feeding in harbours on the NSW coast recently, which was unusual.

He believed this might have been caused by a combination of things.

"It could be that they're not getting their usual food source and then they've just been smashed by this weather system," he said.

With another low pressure system predicted to hit the Mid North Coast in the coming week, Mrs Whitwell said it was likely FAWNA carers would receive more exhausted birds.

"We're expecting to get more," she said.

"They're the times we get problems."

Anyone who finds an injured or exhausted seabird - or any distressed wild animal - should contact FAWNA Wildlife Rescue on 6581 4141.

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