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Watch out for off-course mollymawks

Watch out for off-course mollymawks

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is asking Southland residents to watch out for stranded Southern Buller’s mollymawks.

Often the large birds strand in odd places, such as beside railway lines, effluent ponds and in backyards or paddocks. The youngsters are fledging and still learning to take off. During periods of strong winds, young birds often find themselves flying for the first time and get blown inland.

Conservation Services Manager in Invercargill, Ros Cole, yesterday rescued the first stranded mollymawk of the season. She retrieved it from a sheep farm at Otama, between Riversdale and Gore. It was not injured and today was released at Oreti Beach. Another two mollymawks were collected by DOC rangers today from the Lornville Dacre area and from Bluff.

Ros says these birds need a high launching site to become airborne. In spring, they often become stuck in flat paddocks a long way from the sea. She said one season, DOC rangers picked up about 30 of the birds which had been blown inland.

“Anyone coming across a mollymawk in their paddock can pick it up and take it for release at the beach. Let it out into the dunes away from dogs or in the water to re-launch. They don’t need feeding and shouldn’t be warmed. If you can't do this, contact your local DOC office and arrangements will be made,” Ros said.

“We appreciate the public being able to help us relocate the birds to the beach and, for many people, it’s the first time they have the opportunity to see one of these magnificent birds up close.”

The Southern Buller’s mollymawk breed on the Solander Islands, to the west of Stewart Island, and on Snares Island.


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