DES investigation into Mackay sick birds - update

Issued: 3 Sep 2021

The Department of Environment and Science’s (DES) investigation into what caused a large number of black noddies to become unwell has now shifted its focus away from the Mackay marina.

The investigation is now centred off the coast of Mackay, particularly around Bushy Island, a known roosting site for black noddies where 140 dead birds were found yesterday (2 September) during field inspections.

A helicopter survey was conducted yesterday of the ocean between Bailey, Derwent, Penrith, Bushy, Scawfell, St Bees and Keswick islands. No obvious pollution event or slick was seen in the area.

A further helicopter surveillance flight will be conducted today (3 September) of other seabird island roost sites between Bushy Island and Cape Upstart.

DES officers removed more than 240 deceased birds from Mackay Marina yesterday.

DES is awaiting laboratory testing results before a cause of this unusual event can be determined.

Members of the public are encouraged to report further sick birds to the department’s pollution hotline on 1300 130 372.