Autumn Backyard Survey Results

Birding at home delivers a bumper autumn survey season! 

Welcome to all new surveyors, it’s great to have you on board! With so many people birding at home, autumn 2020 was a bumper season with more than 2500 surveys completed in more than 1000 locations! Over the two months of March and April, almost 95,000 individual birds were recorded, representing 360 species.  

Your survey and sightings notes provide a wonderful insight into the delight felt when spotting a new visitor to your garden. Not only did Helen from Semaphore spot an Australian Hobby in a new location, she also witnessed it being taken on by a mobbing team including two Magpie-larks, eight White-plumed Honeyeaters, and one Willie Wagtail, the last of which was the most aggressive! Other first-times for a location included an Australian Pelican spotted by Kimberley in Dondingalong, eight Budgerigars that flew past Emily in Port Augusta, and a beautiful Scarlet Robin spotted by Anthony in The Basin. 

Others reported the return of some species they hadn’t seen in years. Mary from Picton spotted a Wonga Pigeon for the first time in three years whereas it has been a long 8-10 years since Zebra Finches had visited Janet in South Kalgoorlie. Russell in McCrae would have been happy to see a Crescent Honeyeater for the first time in many years, until it was harassed by five Eastern Spinebills! Your notes make for great reading and valuable insights into bird movement and behaviour – please keep them coming! 

Nationwide, the most frequently observed species were Australian Magpie, Rainbow Lorikeet, and Noisy Miner. These species are among the top contenders in most states and territories, yet the “Top 10” list is not the same everywhere in Australia. In the Northern Territory, the most frequently observed birds during autumn were: Bar-shouldered Dove, Brown Honeyeater, Magpie-lark, White-gaped Honeyeater, Rufous-banded Honeyeater, Australasian Figbird, Torresian Imperial-Pigeon, Double-barred Finch, Peaceful Dove, and Helmeted Friarbird. If you’d like to find out more about some of NT’s birds, take a trip north from the comfort of your own chair and watch Amanda Lilleyman’s Cool Top End Birds.  


Although temperatures have dropped and the sting of the summer sun has gone, the soil is still warm, making autumn the biggest gardening season of the year. With more time at home, and in the garden, your garden may have changed since your last Birds in Backyards survey. If it has, make sure you keep your Birdata details up to date so we can monitor how changes in your garden influence your feathered visitors. Next time you’re in Birdata, go to “About my site”, select yes to the question “Has your garden/site changed since your last survey?” and update your details. If you’ve been thinking about redesigning your garden but not sure where to start, watch Holly’s tips on creating bird-friendly gardens and check out the great range of Birds in Backyards gardening for birds resources including bird-friendly gardening in small spacesgardening on a budget and much more.  


With winter around the corner, mark your calendar for the June-July winter survey period but don’t forget - you can do a survey anytime and the more you can do, the better! In the meantime, explore the Bird Finder to familiarise yourself with the incredible diversity of Australian birds and keep checking in on BirdLife Australia’s Birding at Home webpage for a great range of resources for your day to day birding enjoyment. 


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