The Settlement Point viewing platform at Emita is the ideal location to watch the Shearwaters (Mutton birds) return to their burrows at dusk, after a day of feeding far out at sea (November to April). The Short Tailed Shearwater, more commonly known as the Mutton-Bird is a member of a group of 100 medium to large seabirds in the family Procellariae.
The breeding period for these birds is September through to April; they breed in burrows about 1 metre long. In November, after spending the last couple of months meeting up with their mate and tidying up their burrow, the mutton birds leave the colony for a short time to feed before returning to lay a single egg.
The chicks hatch in late January with both parents participating in its feeding and care. The parents leave the down-covered chicks in early April and the chicks do not eat again until early May, so they rapidly lose weight as they acquire their flight feathers. 2-3 weeks after the parents have left the fledglings will begin their first migratory flight unassisted by experienced birds.
The average life span of these birds is 15-19 years with some living to 38.