Spring is a great time to get to know and see Australia’s birds in the wild. It is also the season when Australia celebrates National Bird Week. The days are getting longer and the weather is warming up, which means that there are more birds around than at any other time of the year. In addition, spring is when many migratory bush birds arrive back from their wintering haunts. Recreational birdwatching is a great family activity for people of all ages and can be enjoyed by anyone with a bit of curiosity and patience. In this article, we will equip you with some basic information to get started and tell you everything you need to know about the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, and how you can help our feathered friends by joining.
If you don’t have time to read this article
Here’s a Youtube video where I summarise the Aussie Backyard Bird Count. As an avid birder and conservationist who has been involved in bird conservation for over 30 years, I highly recommend you take part in this annual spectacle. Bookmark this article for later and watch this video to get acquainted with the upcoming event.
The Aussie Bird Count – What is it and how can you participate?
The Aussie Backyard Bird Count is an exciting event and is held at the same time as Australia’s National Bird Week. The Aussie Bird Count is founded and organised by BirdLife Australia – the country’s largest bird conservation organisation. It is a great way to get started in learning about Australia’s common birds and even be able to spot a rare bird or two in the process, depending on your location.
The Aussie Bird Count requires counting and identifying the birds that you see for 20 minutes. It’s fairly easy to sign up, and you do not have to know all existing bird names and species to join. BirdLife Australia’s website has put together a helpful list of common birds by state or territory to help you further prepare for the Aussie bird count and spotting rare birds.
By listing down the local birds you’ve seen within that 20-minute period for the Aussie Bird Count, you will help BirdLife Australia develop an understanding of local birds, whilst getting to know the local birdlife in your area. The 2022 Aussie Backyard Bird Count will be held from the 17th to 23rd of October.
Living in a condominium, apartment building, or somewhere with no backyard? Don’t worry. You can watch from almost anywhere, whether that’s in your backyard, local parks, beaches, or even the town centre.
Aussie Bird Count 2022: A Step-by-step Guide for Aspiring Participants
Discover the best places to watch birds
Although the title is named backyard bird count, it is not limited to backyards. This can be anywhere – from a nearby park, the beach, or even your favourite outdoor space.
Yes, only 20 minutes are required to successfully sign up and qualify for the Aussie Bird Count. Increase your chances of success by observing the native birds and migratory birds you see, writing down all of the species with your bird count.
Submit Your Count Online
When you’re done, submit your count online at the Aussie Bird Count website or through their mobile app called Aussie Bird Count developed by BirdLife Australia. It’s free! Join thousands of participants in the biggest nationwide bird survey.
By taking part in the Aussie Bird Count, you will be helping BirdLife Australia in their bird conservation efforts, and develop a better understanding of our local and migratory birds. Not to mention some amazing prizes up for grabs such as an Olympus Digital Camera package, a pair of Swarovski Optik binoculars, and many more.
What else can you do to help birds during National Bird Week?
National Bird Week is all about celebrating birds and connecting with nature. There are many ways that you can help out and participate in National Bird Week, even if you don’t live near a body of water or participate in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count.
Here are some other ways that you can help out:
- Plant a native garden that attracts birds
- Make a bird feeder or bird bath.
- Keep your backyard clean and free of harmful chemicals and pollutants for the safety of visiting and nesting birds.
- Educate your friends and family about the importance of birds and how they can help with Australia’s wildlife conservation efforts.
What is birdwatching?
Birdwatching is a popular pastime of observing birds in their natural habitats. It can be done just for recreational purposes, or to gather information about bird populations and movements. Birdwatching is a popular activity all over the world, and there are many different ways to get involved.
One of the best ways to get started in birdwatching is by purchasing two pieces of basic birdwatching equipment, binoculars, and a field guide. Some other great ways are to read up on local bird species, join a birdwatching group, and go on birdwatching tours.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Birdwatching?
Birdwatching can help improve your observation skills and help make you more connected to the world around you. Having an increased level of awareness comes with a lot of benefits. For some, they say it is a form of daily meditation. It’s a great way to get exercise and a motivator to explore new places. Some research suggests that the exercise of learning to identify birds and organising the information is good for our brain health, especially as we age.
Three of the best places to start your birding journey
It might surprise you but many species of birds can often be found right at home. Most gardens of any size in Australia will potentially have over 20 bird species and many more.
A neighbourhood park
This is a great place to start as it may offer a variety of habitats, including woods, ponds, and grasslands. This makes it a great place for birding all year round. A neighbourhood park may be home to a large variety of bird species. A larger neighbourhood park could have a potential list of over a hundred bird species.
A local nature reserve
Most suburban areas in Australia have good access to nature reserves and even national parks. These areas have been set aside especially for wildlife conservation and are naturally great places to see many species of birds.
Many nature reserves will have interpretive signs to help identify birds and may have lists of regularly seen birds for free of sale. This information is often available on the park’s website.
Many nature reserves will have bird hides which are great for quietly observing birds from close quarters. (Remember to be quiet when using hides, especially your footsteps!)
Tips for Beginner Birdwatchers
If you’re just getting started in backyard birdwatching, it’s important to learn how to do it correctly. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Get to know your native birds
In order to identify birds correctly, it’s important to learn about the species that live near you. This can be done by reading a field guide or by joining tours or a local birding group. You can also check out the BirdLife Australia website to see the previous results in your area.
Use the right equipment
A good pair of binoculars is essential for backyard birdwatching, and a field guide can be helpful for identification. Here’s a short video with some tips on selecting your first pair of binoculars. I’ve also created a definitive guide for beginners on the best ways to utilise binoculars for birdwatching.
Discover a good spot to watch from
Try to find a spot where you can see as many different kinds of birds as possible. If you’re in your neighbourhood park, try to find a spot near a pond or other water body.
Be patient and observant
It often takes longer to see the rare birds as compared to the native birds, so be patient and keep your eyes peeled!
Birdwatching is a great way to connect with nature and enjoy the beauty of wildlife up close. It is also kid-friendly and makes for a perfect family activity.
Birdwatching is a great way to spend time outdoors, connect with nature and spend time with friends and family members of all ages in any season. In this article, we have provided you with all the information you need to get started in birdwatching.
We have also given you the steps on how to participate in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count by BirdLife Australia, which will be taking place from the 17th-23rd of October this year. By participating in this event, you will be helping BirdLife Australia gain a better understanding of Australia’s birds. So what are you waiting for? Join thousands of participants in identifying birds. Happy counting!
The Leading Birding Tours in Australia | Neil Hermes: Our Ornithologist
A scientist by background, and a keen Ornithologist. Neil has lived in Canberra for over 50 years and has decades of experience in the tourism industry. He has turned his talents to guiding guests around Canberra which he called home for most of his life.