2022 Birds in Backyards Surveys - what did we see?

A tremendous thank you to all the people who got out there and submitted a Birds in Backyards survey in 2022. Overall we had 7108 surveys submitted during the year – that was down slightly on 2021 (8526) but given that we all could go out and do more birding in 2022, that is a great result. With a whopping 404 species observed, there was really some great data sent in – and no doubt a lot of birders having a lot of fun.

Unsurprisingly, surveys were most commonly submitted from our urban centres, and you can see a strong coastal bias. Excitedly though, we also received surveys from some more far flung places last year – from the very north of Australia, remote locations through the mainland through to our amazing surveyors working hard in Tasmania. We even have surveys coming in from Norfolk Island, where a fantastic birdwatcher has been keeping track of the birds in her patch (where there have been an exciting mix of birds including the common, like Blackbirds, through to endemics like Norfolk Island Gerygones, and even a range of seabirds like Black-winged Petrels and Sooty Terns).


Common Birds

Of course, our urban bird communities have again been dominated by those that you would expect - with the top 10 list reading like a who's who of successful urban birds (shown here with their reporting rate - i.e. how often they appear in a survey):

1. Australian Magpie - 44.9%

2. Rainbow Lorikeet - 41.1%

3. Magpie-lark - 35.7%

4. Noisy Miner - 33.6%

5. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo - 27.2%

6. Spotted Dove (introduced) - 26.1%

7. Crested Pigeon - 24.2%

8. Willie Wagtail - 22.4%

9. Common Myna (introduced) - 21.9%

10. Galah - 21.7%


The list, and indeed even the reporting rates is eerirly similar to 2021, with the exception of the Grey Butcherbird and Pied Currawong being replaced by the Willie Wagtail and Common Myna in positions 8 and 9.


What got you excited?

There have been some fantastic records coming in to the surveys and highlighted by our wonderful surveyors. We've seen:

  • The march of the Australian Brush-turkey continuing with gardeners in the south of Sydney and Illawarra documenting their presence for the first time
  • Brown Honeyeaters and Singing Honeyeaters getting into a tusstle in a garden in Karakin in WA over some garden resources
  • Noisy Miners mobbing a Grey Goshawk near Newcastle in NSW
  • Forest Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos feeding on Jarrah nuts on the outskirts of Perth
  • A Brush Cuckoo chick being fed by White-throated Honeyeaters in Mareeba in North Qld
  • Daily visits of Brown Thornbills and Silvereyes to a garden in Marion Bay in Tasmania

And many many more stories - thank you for sharing them!


That is some big numbers!

We have some sightings of large flocks of waterbirds in the Birds in Backyards surveys - estimates of 2500 Magpie-Geese and Plumed Whistling Ducks in the KBA located on the Atherton Tablelands - but its not only waterbirds being recorded in large flocks. We've had 515 Tree Martins flying over a garden in Prestons Beach on the south west coast of WA, around 250 Top Knot Pigeons spotted on a property near Burra Burra in Northern NSW and who wouldn't be excited about flocks of more than 170 Double-barred Finches seen at a property north west of Newcastle in NSW.

And some people have been lucky enough to have a lot of different species recorded in their surveys. A survey in Emerald Beach in NSW had the most number of species seen with a fabulous 50 different types of birds recorded. This was followed closely by a garden in Mount Glorious in Qld that had 49 species and in Paterson, NSW where 47 species seen. Overall, people doing our surveys saw an average of 9.6 different bird species. Thats still a nice number of different bird visitors in a garden in a short time period!


You can get involved in 2023. Join us and send in a Birds in Backyards survey to add your garden to the amazing network of gardens who are monitoring and protecting our Australian urban birds. You can read up about how you can get involved on our survey instructions page.

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