Backyard bird-watching for science

By AG Staff Writer 11 October 2016
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This 17-23 October is National Bird Week, and Aussies are invited to head into their own backyards to record their local birdlife in the name of citizen science.

DO YOU HAVE a pair of cheeky rainbow lorikeets that like to pay you regular visits? An Australian magpie that occasionally turns up at the back step, or some cocky cockatoos that have made your deck their home away from home?

This 17-23 October, during National Bird Week, it’s your chance to do your bit for citizen science by recording the resident avian population close to home.

In its third year, the Aussie Backyard Bird Count is an initiative of BirdLife Australia, and it provides everyday Aussies with an opportunity to contribute to a snapshot of Australian birdlife as well as an ongoing insight into trends in our bird communities from year to year. 

rainbow lorikeet

The rainbow lorikeet was the most sighted bird during both the 2014 and 2015 Aussie Backyard Bird Count. (Image: Andrew Silcocks)

You don’t have to officially have a ‘backyard’ to take part – a local park, school yard or simply your favourite outdoor space, whether at the beach or in a national park, will do, as long as it’s in Australia. Simply stay put (within a 200m radius) for 20 minutes and note every bird you can identify during that time.

BirdLife Australia has a target of counting 1.5 million birds over the seven-day period, and all kinds of bird watchers, from novices to experts and school kids to retirees, are encouraged to participate.

“We share our backyards with an impressive array of birds and are very fortunate that their feathers come from all spectrums of the rainbow,” says BirdLife Australia’s Sean Dooley. “And just like our birds, birdwatchers can come from an incredible range of backgrounds.”

You can record the birds using the free Aussie Bird Count app or by filling out a form online. Find out more at