It's Winter Survey Time!

The days are shorter, temperatures drop, but backyard birdwatching never stops!

Welcome to those of you who are new to Birds in Backyards and to surveying.

If you have been following our #BirdingAtHome journey on social media, then you would have seen your fellow birders enjoying a #CuppaWithTheBirds for 10 minutes each day – let us super charge that! Brew a nice warm beverage, round up the troops and head outside for our 20 minute Birds in Backyards Winter Survey 2020.

How do I take part?

To do a Birds in Backyards survey, spend 20 minutes in one spot where you can view birds - your backyard, local park, school, or other favourite outdoor place. Simply count how many you see of each bird species you see and tell us about what the outdoor space is like. Then to enter your survey data, register your free Birdata account, read the instructions for the web or app or watch the video. If you download the Birdata app you can take your smartphone or tablet outside with you to do your count. 


What if I don't know much about birds?

If you are unsure where or how to start, or even feel like you don’t know the first thing about birds only that you love to see them, then fear not! The Birdata web portal and app automatically gives you a list of 30 birds from your region to get you started. 


Why do these surveys?

Your surveys are used by BirdLife  Australia and us in the Urban Bird team to track the health of our urban birds, and to monitor the impact of our gardens, outdoor spaces and even our own behaviours on bird populations. We can learn a lot from Birds in Backyard surveys, like how different types of gardens can attract different types of birds, and which features birds may be avoiding or are negatively affected by.

Importantly, your surveys contribute to the on-ground conservation work we undertake with our volunteers, branches and partners – from local planting and habitat improvement projects up to national advocacy and campaigns. We also use the survey data in seminars and workshops conducted by staff, or for our projects such as the Powerful Owl Project.


How often should I survey?

Each quarter we launch a seasonal survey. By dividing the year up into seasons we can track changes in bird communities at the same four times each year. Our Winter survey period has just closed (so we are busy analysing your data for June and July) - but you can still submit surveys at any time. You can do as many surveys as you like, as often as you like! Some people like to just participate once a quarter (or four times a year) in our seasonal surveys, while others like to count their birds more frequently. 


What else can I record?

There are a few important interactions you can share with us if you see them.

  • Aggressive interactions – Let us know if you have observed any species initiate interactions with other birds and whether this interaction could be classed as aggressive – you can do this in the sighting details tab using the specific species interactions option.
  • Breeding behaviour - Have you seen a bird carrying nesting materials, or even sitting on a nest. Even in Winter birds can be breeding! Select the option under 'Breeding Activity' that best matches your observation.
  • Have you seen any birds feeding on the native plants in your garden? If so – who was dining on what? – you can tell us in the notes section when you record the species you have observed under “sighting details”
  • Who has been braving a chilly winter dip? – Tell us if any birds are using your birdbaths or other water sources on your property using the notes section in the sighting details tabs.
  • Have any birds been dabbling in some Oscar-worthy acting? – tell us about the weird and wonderful things your backyard birds have been up to you using the notes section in the sighting details tabs.


Check out our

for more information.


Annual Competition

Don't forget our major prize for the year - if you complete at least one survey per season (that’s Summer 2019/20, Autumn 2020, Winter 2020 & Spring 2020) you will go into the draw to win a pair of brand new Nikon binoculars (worth $249) to take with you on all your birding adventures!

A quick refresher of the rules for the annual competition:

  1. All surveys must be completed within the Birds in Backyards surveys on Birdata
  2. Surveys must be submitted from a single surveyor/Birdata account holder
  3. Surveys are only counted within each survey period
  4. For the Major Challenge, at least one survey in each season must be completed from a single Birdata account
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