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The Mutton Birds of Bass Strait

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The Mutton Bird (Puffinus tenuirostris) has been the basis of a successful, if little-known, Tasmanian industry for more than a century. Each year millions of fledglings are harvested for their carcasses and oil.

In 1947, in an attempt to assess how long rookeries could withstand such losses, the Fauna Board of Tasmania joined forces with CSIRO to investigate the mutton bird''s life history. The bird''s fantastic migration was one of the most interesting facts they uncovered. The huge flocks that cross the Pacific each year to spend the northern summer in Canada and Alaska, return to their Bass Strait breeding grounds on almost the same day each year.

Produced in 1956.

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11:01:13 | titles
11:01:29 | Mutton birds at sea, taking off
11:01:36 | Map showing migration route
11:01:51 | Mutton birds in flight over waves at sea
11:02:25 | Furneaux Island group, scenics, islanders gathering mutton birdfledglings from burrows
11:02:47 | Map of Furneaux Island group
11:03:17 | Islanders preparing for Mutton bird season, DC 3 aircraft arrivingat Flinders Island airport, boats loaded with stores and vehicles
11:03:56 | Boats heading off to outer islands
11:04:31 | Provision being unloaded on smaller islands
11:05:04 | Mutton bird chicks being taken from nests, killed and staked
11:06:09 | Processing Mutton birds, emptying crop oil from fledglings, plucking,dressing and salt curing
11:07:01 | Fresh birds being transported to Lady Barren Island
11:07:18 | Crates of fresh birds being loaded onto truck then into DC3, aircrafttakeoff
11:07:45 | Mutton bird harvesting
11:08:08 | CSIRO field station on Fisher Island
11:08:30 | Researchers examine nest burrows
11:09:18 | Mutton birds returning to nests at evening
11:10:30 | Mutton birds taking off at dawn
11:11:27 | Researchers examining adult bird, conducting census of burrows,card index of banded birds
11:13:43 | Banding mutton birds
11:14:02 | Sexual characteristics of male and female mutton birds
11:14:37 | Female sitting on nest
11:14:46 | Researchers remove egg and adult from nest
11:15:12 | Female with egg in nest
11:15:20 | Mutton birds at sea
11:15:36 | Hatching and growth stages of chick
11:16:56 | Mutton birds taking off from water
11:17:20 | Map of migration path
11:17:56 | Mutton birds at sea
11:18:15 | Dead mutton birds washed up on beach
11:18:35 | Banding of young birds
11:19:24 | WS Sheep grazing on Island
11:19:37 | soil hardness testing
11:19:42 | Sand dune erosion
11:20:01 | Huge flock of mutton birds at sea
11:20:37 | credits
11:20:47 | end