Plastics causing long-term harm to Victorian seabirds

The stomach of fledgling mutton birds, or Short-tailed Shearwaters, on Victoria’s Phillip Island have been found to contain an average of more than seven particles of plastic per bird – weighing some 113 mg.

Researchers say this may affect the life cycle of this species and their reproductive success, and cause long-term harm to populations.

While the plastic load of adult Short-tailed Shearwaters has been well researched and documented in the northern hemisphere, there has been little work on the amount ingested by their offspring.

Chicks appear to be at greater risk than adult birds. “When plastics are regurgitated by parents to chicks, the physical impact of the plastic and internal ulceration are likely to lower survival,” say researchers.

Read more at La Trobe University