Bird enthusiasts and nature lovers in the Parkes Shire are invited to become citizen scientist and participate in next week’s 2021 Aussie Backyard Bird Count.
The annual event runs from 18th to 24th October and requires participants to spend 20 minutes in their backyards, local parks or favourite nature spots recording and counting bird species present. Observations are submitted either through the Aus-sie Bird Count app or through an online web form.
“This is a great opportunity for residents to get out in nature, observe and potentially learn more about the bird species that call the Parkes Shire home. Parkes Shire residents came out in force last year, and we would love to see similar or even higher numbers of participation this year,” said Parkes Shire Council’s Environment and Sustainability Coordinator Michael Chambers.
Last year the Aussie Bird Count saw over 100,000 Aussies count more than 4.6 million birds. Involvement across the Parkes Shire was significantly up from previous years, increasing from 30 participants in 2019 to 231 in 2020 counting a total of 4,232 individual birds across 94 species.
Consistent with previous years, the most recorded species across the Parkes Shire was the iconic galah, followed by magpies, house sparrows, crested pigeons and magpie-larks. Residents also managed to record several vulnerable species, including the superb parrot, grey-crowned babbler and Major Mitchell’s cockatoo.
Encouragingly, of the 94 species recorded in 2020, only six were introduced species. Across Australia, the most commonly re-corded species was the rainbow lorikeet, with more than half a million counted in 2020.
“This species has finished on top every year, reflecting the changes in Aussie backyards over the past half century. The replacement of European-style cottage gardens with native backyards containing eucalypts, grevilleas and bottle brush is ideal for species like the rainbow lorikeet,” said Michael.
Data obtained from the annual Aussie Backyard Bird Count will enable Parkes Shire Council to increase environmental engagement among residents, inform land management decisions and monitor the success of tree planting efforts across the Shire.
Originating in 2014, the Aussie Backyard Bird Count provides an opportunity for anyone to become a citizen scientist. The event has become one of the largest citizen science projects in Australia, helping to fill critical knowledge gaps concerning common backyard bird species.
“With growing national and international concern for the welfare of Australian wildlife, results from the Aussie Backyard Bird Count can provide important insights into how native birds are faring. The data can also inform policies, species management decisions and provide advocacy for threatened species,” said Michael.
Registrations for the 2021 Aussie Backyard Bird Count can be done online at https://aussiebirdcount.org.au/.