Margaret Hodge

Local bird watcher activity topped last year in the recent 2021 Aussie Backyard Bird Count. And while it’s not a race, it is true that many more birds were sighted by District twitchers than the town-dwelling spotters of Daylesford, for the second year running.

Mick Evans does a count during the lunch break on a Great Dividing Trail Association guided walk.

Across our region more than 12,000 birds from 140 species were observed by local binocular-toting birdos, who lodged 459 checklists. This is a 20% increase on the number of birds reported last year.

Bird spotters in the Daylesford 3460 postcode logged 161 checklists, up from 123 last year. Keen-eyed locals spotted 4,203 birds, 700 more than last year’s total of 3,495. These birds came from 101 species compared to 91 last year.

Impressively, twitchers in the District 3461 postcode saw 7,846 birds this year compared to 6,099 last year. The total number of species seen was 141, similar to 139 last year. These were lodged in 298 checklists, up from 223 in 2020.

Such a healthy increase in bird sightings in both the District and Daylesford is welcomed by all lovers of birds and suggests a level of good environmental health in our area.

Birds were observed in a wide range of habitats across our region. Feathered friends were seen in urban gardens, parks, forests, lakes and swamps. The greater variety of habitat outside the Daylesford township probably contributes to the greater variety of species observed in the District.

To illustrate this we can think about waterbirds. Although there are a couple of lakes and waterways in town, more water birds were reported in the surrounding region where there is a bigger variety of watery habitats such as dams, swamps and marshy places. Different depths of water and a bigger variety of plants create habitats that suit more species. Such watery habitats are also likely to be more peaceful out of town, which might attract shy birds. You can see which waterbird species were sighted in the 3461 area compared to 3460 on the Birdlife Australia statistics page.

Birdlife Australia has just released their shortlist of images in the Photography Awards for this year, with the announcement of the winner expected any day. Visit the website to see amazing images of beautiful birds.

Margaret Hodge is a Daylesford resident and keen amateur naturalist.

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District Twitchers Swoop Daylesford Spotters in Bird Count 2020