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From Monday, October 19, until Sunday, October 25, BirdLife Australia is calling on all Australians to take part in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count. Not only is it the nation’s largest conservation event, it’s also one of the largest citizen science events in Australia. 

The Aussie Backyard Bird Count is part of BirdLife Australia’s National Bird Week, which has run for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit group exists to ensure our native birds are protected and valued for their part in the natural world and continue to provide happiness and inspiration for all of us. The group has been the voice for birds for more than a century as it fights to protect birds and their habitats through robust programs and informed advocacy.

After the Black Summer fires and COVID-19 pandemic, this count provides a chance for everyone to take a break, connect with nature and do something peaceful in this trying year – and you can complete it from your backyard. 

An alarming 180 million birds are estimated to have been lost in last summer’s destructive bushfires. However, a substantial number took refuge in parks and gardens that the fires left untouched. As we approach another fire season, it’s vital to monitor trends in the recovery of native bird populations. 

BirdLife Australia’s national public affairs manager, Sean Dooley, said this year’s count had never been more important to compare nationwide data with that from previous counts and track the longer-term impact of bushfires on our birdlife. “Every year we’re seeing more Australians take part, which is really exciting and shows how fun the count can be,” Mr Dooley said. “The Aussie Backyard Bird Count continues to attract people from all ages, backgrounds and walks of life. This year we’re hoping to have more Australians than ever before join the count.”

Data collected from the count will assist BirdLife Australia track how bird populations are coping across the country. You can join in anywhere while following your COVID-19 restrictions, whether it be in your own garden, public gardens and parks, school yards, beaches, or nearby bushland. 

“It’s a great way to take a break from the anxieties and stresses that we’ve all faced this year,” Mr Dooley said. “Whether you’re new to birdwatching or a bird nerd, everyone can take part in the bird count. Our app does the hard work for you with images of common birds in your area and has information about all the species you see or hear during your count. It’s the perfect activity to unwind this spring.” 

An impressive 88,000 Australians took part last year, and together they counted nearly 3.4 million birds. The most commonly counted birds were the Australian magpie, noisy miner and rainbow lorikeet, pictured. Not only is the app updated in real time, meaning the national total is available for all to see, but you’ll also be able to see which species are being recorded in your area.

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