Seabird group tells of its work
The Brisbane Water Secondary College student group Kids who are Animal Carers group were visited by Australian Seabird Rescue Group representative Ms Jo Bird on Tuesday, February 28.
Students viewed photographs of injured birds and met Killarney, a 13 month old educational seagull that travels to schools to assist with the education of students.
This group was started in Ballina and has since expanded to include the Central Coast where there are now three active members who deal with many issues of injured seabirds.
Two years ago the small group of carers trained with the Native Animal Trust Fund and National Parks in order to help with the oil spill in Newcastle's waterways.
Over 35 birds were rescued and treated.
Ms Bird said most injured birds came in with fishing equipment, such as fishing line and hooks, either ingested or wrapped around them.
She also showed the students pictures of other animals injured with balloons, plastic and packaging.
She said many injured turtles came into care have plastic in their digestive tract which caused blockages and many fatalities.
The group of carers on the Central Coast focus on pelicans as the Coast has a number of breeding islands.
"There are seven species of pelicans in the world and we have one living in Australia," said Ms Bird.
"It is known as the spectacle pelican because of the yellow circles around the eyes.
"These are in fact glands that allow the bird to ingest saltwater, and are where the salt is secreted from its body.
"The pelican is one of the biggest seabirds in Australia and is found also in freshwater areas," she said.
The voluntary group receives no funding assistance like other animal groups nor do they get help with veterinarian bills.
The Australian Seabird Rescue group rely purely on fundraising and donations and have already rescued and helped 79 birds in the last several months.