Shearwater Dreaming 2013

Not far from here is an island where Shearwaters (also known as Mutton Birds) breed in hollows in the ground.  Each year they fly here from the Aleutian Islands near Alaska.  They arrive around the spring equinox to breed and raise their chicks then they fly back to the Aleutians around the autumn equinox.  Every year they return to the same nest and every year they return to their life long partner.   Each year many die in the south westerly gales before they make back to their nests. This year the gales have been much worse than usual.


Today, after yesterday’s gales,
hundreds of Shearwaters

lay dead upon the shore.
Far more than I have ever seen before.

The wind caught their wings and set them fluttering
but still their bodies lay
trapped beneath the drifting sands.

Will there be enough left, I wondered,
to breed and fly
as neurons in the group mind –
that vast flock which measures the length of the Pacific
from north to south and back again
each and every year.

Far out to see the storm clouds gathered –
another gale brewing.
The sea snarled as it ate away at the eroded dunes.
Even last week the beach was wider.

In my mind the birds took flight.
They became metaphoric –

the refugees, the damaged and the homeless –
All those who wander ceaselessly
and never find a home.



5 thoughts on “Shearwater Dreaming 2013

    1. No apologies necessary. Knowing the area you can probably imagine my shock at seeing the beach at The Cutting covered with dead birds. There was one every metre or so. Many had one wing stuck up in the air like they were still trying to fly. It was very upsetting.

  1. On the South coast of Victoria, there is a small town of Port Fairy which boasts Mutton Bird island just off the coast. These birds also fly to the Aleutian Islands, so I believe. I used to live near Port Fairy for many years so very interesting to have you visit and follow WoollyMuses blog.

    1. I live in Port Fairy 🙂 I moved here last year. The island is now called Griffith Island. The beach where I saw all the dead birds today was The Cutting at Killarney – you might remember it.

Please comment. I love knowing what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s