Local beaches are becoming littered with the bodies of exhausted short tailed shear-waters, or mutton birds, as they migrate from Siberia to breeding grounds at Tasmania.
The starving birds can also be injured as they dive for the tempting bait on the end of fishermen’s lines.
In the longest migration of any bird, the shearwater can lose almost half its body weight during the journey.
Far South Coast WIRES president Janine Green of Merimbula said the chances of survival once washed ashore are very slim.
“We bring them to care and rehydrate them with an electrolyte saline solution but we lose nine out of 10,” she said.
“It’s great that people are concerned and they can call WIRES on 6495 4150 if they find one.”
Short-tailed shearwaters leave Bass Straight in late April-early May, fly north east across the Pacific Ocean and on to the Bering Sea between Russia and Alaska to spend the Australian winter in the northern hemisphere.
They live almost constantly on the wing, returning to their islands via the east coast of Australia, to breed in late spring and summer.
It is estimated there are 23 million breeding pairs in Bass Straight.