Nation’s largest citizen science event starts

BirdLife Australia’s largest citizen science event, the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, kicks off today (Monday 19 – Sunday 25 October 2020) to celebrate National Bird Week and track and protect native birds for future generations; with a particular focus to measure how the bushfires have impacted our birds.

In its seventh year, the Aussie Backyard Bird Count is looking to beat last year’s record-breaking numbers of participants and birds spotted. Last year over 88,000 Australians counted nearly 3.4 million birds during the count. The Rainbow Lorikeet, Noisy Miner and Australian Magpie remain Australia’s most counted birds.

BirdLife Australia’s National Public Affairs Manager, Sean Dooley, said that this year (2020) will be critical to measure the impacts of the bushfires on our bird populations.

“Last year we saw the White Ibis make an appearance in the top 10 most spotted birds for the first time due to birds flocking to the wetter coastal regions and our bigger cities to escape the drought. We’re really keen to see how the top 10 shapes out this year following ongoing droughts and the Black Summer bushfires,” Mr Dooley said.

“We think this year’s results will be particularly informative. Previously we’ve been able to track how the drought has affected our birdlife and this year we hope to map the impact of the bushfires. Looking forward, next year – with a forecasted La Nina summer – we’ll hopefully have good indicators on how the wetter weather patterns also affect our birdlife.”

Data from the Aussie Backyard Bird Count will help BirdLife Australia track how our bird populations are faring across the country. The Aussie Bird Count app allows you to take part anywhere – not just backyards, but in local parks, gardens, schoolyards, bushland or beaches – wherever you might see birds. The national total will be updated in real time, and the app allows you to see which species are being seen in your local area.

However, it’s not just about the data. The Aussie Backyard Bird Count delivers a wide range of benefits for participants including improved wellbeing and mindfulness and provides a deeper understanding of the natural world around you.

Following a devastating year so far, with the Black Summer fires, COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing restrictions in place; this count is a chance for all Aussies to take a break, connect with nature and do something peaceful within the comfort of their own backyard.

“The Aussie Backyard Bird Count is a great way to take a break from the anxieties and stresses that we’ve all faced this year. We’ve got a number of incredible Ambassadors helping us out this year – some who are long time bird watchers and others who have picked it up during lockdown. It goes to show anyone can get involved and that now is the perfect time to do so,” Mr Dooley said.

Ambassadors include David Pocock, Chris Bath, Myf Warhurst, Costa Georgiadis, Paul ‘PK’ Kennedy, Danielle Griffith, John Williamson, Melissa Hickey, Lewis Garnham, Geraldine Hickey, Michael Veitch and William McInnes.

BirdLife Ambassador Quotes 2020

  • “Loving being a Birdlife Aussie Backyard Count Ambassador – I’ve spent six months in the backyard at the makeshift ABC sports bureau; the birds at our place are so familiar with me they’ve started calling me PK.” Paul Kennedy, Journalist
  • “The Bird Count is something for all Australians of all ages. It’s a great, free Covid escape wherever you are – a treasure hunt you can join from your window, your backyard, your paddock, your daily walk. It celebrates some amazing Australians and just by keeping an eye on them for a few days, you can help ensure they’re there for future generations to enjoy.” Chris Bath, Journalist
  • “I’m proud to be involved in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count because birds are a crucial part of the natural world and life would be grey and dreary without them!” Lewis Garnham, Comedian
  • “Spending time outdoors is wonderful but it’s so much better when you have a purpose. You could be looking at a tree waiting for another little mate to land on a branch before you realise half an hour has passed. It’s classic mindfulness and who doesn’t love that right now?” Geraldine Hickey, Comedian
  • “It’s an awesome opportunity to support BirdLife and I’m excited to encourage more Aussies to experience the mental and physical benefits of getting out into nature and enjoying our beautiful birds!” Danielle Griffith, photographer SydneyCockatoos

Registration and submissions are open all week until Sunday 25 October at

BirdLife Australia are also hosting an online launch today (October 19 2020), 12 midday – 2pm AEDT to kick off the Aussie Backyard Bird Count and National Bird Week.

Source: BirdLife Australia