- This year, the challenge is on for Aussies to set a new record and count more than 5 million birds.
- By spending just 20 minutes in nature, Aussies can help BirdLife uncover new insights to protect native birdlife.
- BirdLife’s sights are set on learning more about native parrots, with existing data posing concerns for the nation’s bright-coloured birds.
BirdLife Australia is calling on Aussies to have some feathered-fun by taking part in the Aussie Bird Count (17-23 October). The annual event is designed to gather data to help the organisation track and protect native birds. By participating in this year’s Count, Aussies can unveil their inner-birder and help BirdLife Australia uncover new information about native parrot species, with existing data indicating concerns for the much-loved, vibrant birds.
The Aussie Bird Count is the nation’s largest conservation event, and encourages people of all ages to spend just 20 minutes in their favourite outdoor space, counting birds sighted in that period. It’s a simple, fun activity that encourages people from all walks of life to take time out, get back to nature and make a difference for conservation efforts. Taking part is easy, as it can be done from anywhere – a suburban backyard, a local park, a patch of forest, down by the beach, or the main street of town.
Yearly data collected since the onset of The Count in 2014 has given BirdLife Australia solid insight into how Australian parrots are faring. However, existing data poses questions about the future of vibrant native parrot species, including the Eastern Rosella and the Australian Ringneck.
By participating in the Aussie Bird Count, you will not only help BirdLife Australia uncover information about native parrots, but also enable the peak body of birds to learn more about the common species that live where people live.
BirdLife Australia’s National Public Affairs Manager Sean Dooley said there is an urgent need for new bird data due to inconsistent trends across the nation, particularly amongst parrots.
“In Greater Sydney, the reporting rates of the Eastern Rosella have seen a sharp decline. There are also concerns about the Australian Ringneck, a species showing a steep decline across Greater Perth. However, we’ve seen an increase in numbers of the Red-rumped Parrot in ACT, and the Australian King-Parrot is also seeing an increase across Melbourne.
“Participation in this year’s Count will enable bird experts to understand more about state-based trends, identify if these trends are continuing for declining species, and help us determine the reasons for the declines”, said Sean Dooley.
This year, the challenge is on for over 100,000 Australians to get involved and count more birds than ever before, gathering valuable data, and being involved in new research into native parrots.
Taking a count at the same time each year enables BirdLife Australia to have access to a snapshot of how Australian birds are faring, which helps to identify trends over time and gauge the overall health of the environment – think of birds as a barometer of nature.
“We’d love to see Aussies of all ages from each and every state and territory get involved. The more people we have counting across the week, the more data we have so we can learn more about how parrots are faring, and to help protect them for future generations”, Sean Dooley added.
There are also more than $10,000 worth of prizes being given away as part of this year’s count. For more information on the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, go to www.aussiebirdcount.org.au.
How to take part in the Aussie Bird Count
To complete the Aussie Bird Count, spend 20 minutes standing or sitting in one spot and noting down the birds that you see. You will need to count the number of each species you spot within the 20 minute period. For example, you might see 4 Australian Magpies, 2 Rainbow Lorikeets and a Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo. If you can identify birds by their calls, please include these in your count, but if you aren’t sure of a bird without seeing it, please exclude it rather than making a guess. The Aussie Bird Count app has a handy field-guide to help you identify birds.
Once you have completed your count, you can submit it in two different ways:
You can submit your bird count through the online web form (not available until 14 October) OR submit your counts through the free Aussie Bird Count app. The app is available for iPhones and Android smartphones, go to Google Play or iTunes to download the app for free. If you have the Aussie Bird Count app from previous years don’t delete it, it should update automatically with the newest version. In between event dates, the app operates as a field-guide/bird finder.
About BirdLife Australia
BirdLife Australia is the nation’s largest bird conservation organisation. The not-for-profit exists to ensure our native birds are protected and valued for their part in the natural world and continue to provide delight and inspiration for all Australians. They have been a voice for Australia’s birdlife for well over a century, protecting birds and their habitats through our robust programs and informed advocacy.
The Aussie Bird Count is part of BirdLife Australia’s National Bird Week. National Bird Week has run for more than 100 years making it one of Australia’s longest running community conservation events.
Learn more about The Aussie Bird Count at Aussie Bird Count – Celebrate National Bird Week by taking part in the biggest citizen science project to hit Aussie shores. Join thousands of people from across the country, heading out into their backyards, local parks or favourite open spaces to take part in the Aussie Bird Count.