Birds as a barometer for nature

October 21 to 27 is Bird Week, celebrating the incredible variety of our birds, many that are not found anywhere else in the world, and inspiring Australians to take action and get involved in bird conservation efforts.

Bird Week is held in spring, the season when birds are nesting and breeding and a lot of migratory species return to feed and breed after winter. As birds are more active and visible it’s an ideal time to survey their numbers.

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Image Credit: Mark Leary

You can contribute to developing an understanding of our local bird species and the trends in their populations by taking part in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count.

The 2019 Aussie Backyard Bird Count will be held from 21-27 October. Now in its sixth year, the citizen science project organised by BirdLife Australia gives a unique insight into bird biodiversity.

The huge data set collected, last year nearly 77,000 people participated and recorded more than 2.7 million birds, provides a snapshot of Australian birds at the same time each year, often from places not usually accessible to surveys, like people’s backyards.

The data, collected all over the country, fills a knowledge gap in understanding more about the bird species that live where people live. Common bird species can be used as an indicator of broader biodiversity trends; changes in their numbers and composition provide an insight into how our wild bird populations are faring and the health of the environment more generally. This informs ecologists and the BirdLife Australia team on where conservation efforts are best placed.

Its a great opportunity to learn more about the birds that frequent your patch and contribute to science. So register and start counting!

To participate simply find a spot to sit – whether in your back yard, local park, patch of bush, your school or even at a sidewalk cafe in town – and note down the number of each species you see in a 20 minute period. Once you have completed your count you can submit it through the online web form or via the free Aussie Bird Count app.

The app works offline and also features a handy Field Guide to help you identify birds you are not familiar with, but you will need to check your survey has been submitted once you are back online.

For more information and tips for your bird survey visit the Aussie Backyard Birdcount website: