Autumn Backyard Visitors: Survey highlights

We can sometimes think that our garden visitors are the same day in and day out. But even taking a look at the Top 10 list from Birds in Backyards this Autumn, we see some major changes compared to our common Summer birds.

Here’s a snapshot of the top 10 species and their reporting rates (% of times they were seen in surveys) - out of a whopping 290 different species sighted:



Reporting Rate (%)
Rainbow Lorikeet39.1
Australian Magpie33.85
Brown Honeyeater25.43
Noisy Miner23.71
Australian Raven23.44
Spotted Dove23.17
Red Wattlebird22.9
Willie Wagtail21.63
New Holland Honeyeater20.36

The Rainbow Lorikeets, Australian Magpies, and Magpie-larks continue to dominate. However, this Autumn has welcomed the Brown Honeyeaters as the fourth most commonly recorded bird, and the New Holland Honeyeaters have also made their way into the top 10. We bid farewell to the Eastern Koel (for the time being) as they have heading back north. Interestingly the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos also dropped out of the top 10.

The presence of Brown Honeyeaters and New Holland Honeyeaters is largely influenced by the availability of flowering plants. Where there’s abundant nectar, these species will surely make an appearance. It’s likely that our gardens have been offering a feast of resources for them this Autumn.

We’ve also noticed an uptick in sightings of classic Autumn migrants moving north. Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, commonly observed during migrations up the east coast, have doubled in reporting rates compared to summer, particularly in gardens north of Sydney and around Brisbane. Similarly, Rainbow Bee-eaters, en route to their winter homes, have been reported 30% more frequently this Autumn, with recent sightings around Cairns.

Understanding these migratory patterns becomes much simpler with regular surveys. If you’ve only participated in one survey before, now is the perfect time to get involved again. Even just 4 surveys a year (thats 80 mins) gives us a fantastic, consistent dataset to work from. Once you start looking, its amazing what you notice visiting you. The surveys this season also showed sightings of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos in a bird bath in Perth, Brown Honeyeaters squabbling with Western Spinebills over nectar again in WA, a juvenille Brown Goshawk in Brisbane, a Grey Fantail entertaining the observer with aerobatic antics in their garden in Newport in Melbourne and a lucky surveyor in Mount Colah in Sydney with 18 Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos turning up. And that's just a few of the wonderful highlights people have shared.

When you jump into Birdata to do a survey this winter you will notice we’ve streamlined our garden information section, making it quicker and easier for you to share details about your garden in the Birds in Backyards surveys — and to update us on any changes (like the addition of a bird bath, for instance). So, as winter sets in, bundle up, keep a keen eye on your garden, and let us know what you spot.

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