Tanya Loos

This year is the tenth year of the Aussie Bird Count! If you haven’t given it a go thus far – maybe this is your year!

The count is organised by BirdLife Australia – the nation’s top bird conservation organisation and goes from October 15 – 22. The idea of the count is to introduce people all over Australia to the pleasure of watching birds, and recording the species and numbers of birds you see. It is surprisingly engaging, as you focus on the birds around you for twenty whole minutes. That’s right – for twenty minutes you are off the hook from thinking about the house reno, work or any of the other things we think about in our everyday lives.

The Aussie Bird Count can be done via the smartphone app, or on the website. I recommend the app as it specifically designed to help beginner birdwatchers “get their eye in” and learn to recognise and record the birds they see. You can use the app to key in the size and features of the bird, and a suggested species list and photos is generated based on your location.

You can count as an individual, group or pair. Some folks do a count every day for the entire week – e.g. with their morning coffee, others fit in a few here and there, or even just the one panic count on the last day is OK too!

To complete a Count, you simply spend 20 minutes standing or sitting in one spot and noting down the birds that you see. You can be in your garden, on a balcony or at a favourite outdoor area.  You will need to count the number of each species you spot within the 20 minute period. For example, you might see 4 Australian Magpies, 2 Rainbow Lorikeets and a Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo.

The Aussie Bird Count is such a great activity for kids and families too –  there are some fun bird quizzes, bird bingo and colouring in resources available here: https://aussiebirdcount.org.au/quizzes/

The 2022 Aussie Bird Count was beset by record breaking rain all along the East Coast – but the efforts of nearly 80,000 counters came up with some interesting findings. The Rainbow Lorikeet was still the top bird (for the 9th year in a row!) and Eastern Koels were recorded in the highest numbers ever in Victoria – pretty amazing considering this species NEVER came to Victoria 20 years ago!

The 2023 Aussie Backyard Bird Count will be held from 16-22 October 2023. For information about the count, resources and the app – head to https://aussiebirdcount.org.au/

Social media tiles

Tanya Loos is a local naturalist, author and environmental consultant who loves to work in the environmental not-for-profit sector. She is the author of “Daylesford Nature Diary” available from her website or from Paradise Books in Vincent Street, Daylesford.

Have you got any nature questions for Tanya? Send them in