Autumn survey results - what did you see?

A big thank you to the 398 of you who completed just under 1400 Birds in Backyards surveys this Autumn. We had 58278 birds recorded (297 species) across all the major urban centres of Australia (see the map below).

Once again our Top 10 most frequently seen birds was dominated by the usual suspects. If we compare the list to our Summer surveys there has been very little change. Interestingly only one introduced bird, the Spotted Dove makes the top 10 – it native to eastern Asia. It was introduced into Australia in the mid-1800s and early 1900s and quickly became established. It is now a common sight throughout eastern Australia, and around the major towns and cities in southern and south-western Australia.

NameReporting Rate

Australian Magpie


Rainbow Lorikeet43.3%
Noisy Miner35.8%
Crested Pigeon26.5%
Grey Butcherbird24.5%
Spotted Dove*24.1%
Willie Wagtail23.6%
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo19.8%















The exciting addition to our Autumn survey top 10 list is the Willie Wagtail. This feisty little bird usually sits a little further down our list so it is great to see that they were reported more frequently (previously they average a reporting rate of 15.5%). Alongside the Welcome Swallow they are probably the most successful small native bird in our parks and gardens. Because they forage for insects (using that gorgeous tail) over open spaces, lawns create a fabulous feeding platform. And we can see from our Birds in Backyards surveys as well, that gardens with more than 50% lawn cover are more likely to have Willie Wagtails visiting. Their combative nature also gives them an advantage - while most small native birds hide nests in shrubs or dense tree canopies, Willie Wagtails build their little cup nests in quite exposed locations – and rely on strong parental defence to protect their young. They are not afraid of a fight and will take on any potential predators regardless of size. Thankfully though they are well adapted to living around humans and will rarely see us as a threat.

This Autumn there were also a range of threatened species recorded. Perth really nailed it with lots of sightings of Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos and Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos, and for only the fourth time in 15 years, we saw a Regent Honeyeater recorded in the Birds in Backyards surveys.


We also love reading about the birds that are new arrivals to your gardens. Kylie in Eudunda had a Crimson Rosella in her yard for the first time, Neil in Brisbane reported a Speckled Monarch and Liz at Lenswood had just her second Golden Whistler. And sometimes having next to no birds sighted can be exciting. Sarah reported that her garden emptied out when an Australian Hobby arrived during survey time.

Although temperatures have dropped and the sting of the summer sun has gone, the soil is still warm, making autumn and early winter the best time of year for getting native plants in the ground.  So while you are watching birds for your Winter survey, have a think about what you might like to plant to provide more shelter or some food for your garden visitors. You can 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 spaces, gardening on a budget and much more.


Don’t forget to get those Winter surveys rolling in. Check out our winter article for all the info you need.


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