Biggest bird count takes flight


Michaela Meade

Brimbank residents are being encouraged to take part in this year’s bird count, set to be the largest yet.

The Aussie Backyard Bird Count, organised by BirdLife Australia, is one of Australia’s biggest citizen science events.

Now in its eighth year, the count asks participants to explore their backyard, local park, or favourite outdoor space and count the birds they see, and what species they are.

BirdLife Australia national public affairs manager and chief bird nerd for this year’s count, Sean Dooley, said the bird count, while fun, also provides a “snapshot” of what is going on with Australia’s most common birds.

“We actually know more about some of our most endangered birds than we do about how our most common birds are going,” Mr Dooley said.

“The results of the Aussie Bird Count help us fill in the gaps and each year we get a clearer picture of what’s going on.

“Looking at the trends that have emerged from the first seven years of the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, we have discovered that while some of our most common birds such as Rainbow Lorikeets, Noisy Miners and Little Corellas have become even more numerous, many of our small garden birds like the beautiful Superb Fairy-wren and colourful Silvereye are being seen half as often as they once were in cities like Melbourne.

“This information is then used by some of the 100 plus local councils we deal with to try and manage their parks and reserves to try and encourage these birds to survive.”

Mr Dooley said there were many positives of taking part in the count.

“It’s amazing what you can see in just a 20 minute count,” he said.

“The ebbs and flows of the different birds moving in and out of your yard (or park or wherever you do your count) gives you a great window into the world that goes right outside our window every day.

“We’ve had lots of people say that they’ve enjoyed doing a count with their children or grandchildren and the kids like doing the count because they get to enter the sightings in the app.

“A good mix of getting outside into nature but also using technology.”

Mr Dooley said more than 108,000 people are expected to participate this year.