Bird life at Montague Island – Sapphire Coast NSW
Being a snake free island and with the East Australian currant passing nearly, Montague Island becomes the perfect breeding ground for local and migrating birds.
What kind of birds are on Montague Island?
Penguins on Montague Island are the most popular birds on the NSW South Coast. However apart from these cute creatures there are 15 others species of bird breed on the island, of which 7 are seabirds.
Shearwaters – at least 3 species of Shearwaters call Montague Island home for part of the year. They occupy mixed colonies, mainly on the north island but also on parts of the north eastern side of the south island.
The species produce chicks in numbers varying from 100 per year, the sooty shearwater, to 12 000 per year, the short-tailed shearwater. The size of these colonies appears to be increasing due to increased protection since the 1950’s.
Having flown 1000’s of Kilometres from the Northern hemisphere, these birds arrive in late spring and don’t leave until early March.
Raptors – Include Australian kestrel, peregrine falcon, black-shouldered kite, Swamp Harries and white-breasted sea eagle, occupy the island. These birds rarely share territory, however it seems Montague island is the exception to the rule. These birds of prey take advantage of the abundance in sea life and also fly to the main land if the food runs low on the island.
Other water birds include the Cormorant, the white faced heron, white fronted tern, and the Australian gannet.
Land birds commonly recorded include the ground pipit, banded landrail, leaden flycatcher, willy wagtail and the golden headed fantail warbler.
The island is also permanently home to several other species of songbirds and groundbirds, and is also a resting place for many other species as they migrate past.
Sometimes a strong westerly will blow in unusual visitors such as owls, pigeons and strong easterlies may blow in rarer seabirds.