Spring Survey Results

While this spring saw many of us able to leave home for the first time in quite a few months, we are so thrilled to see a whopping 2195 Birds in Backyards surveys coming in from 728 gardens across Australia! And not only that, but a tremendous 356 different species were spotted. Everything from birds incredibly adapted to urban spaces like Peregrine Falcons and Australian White Ibis that have learned to explore our cities, through to woodland specialists such as Brown Treecreepers, Speckled Warblers and Scarlet Robins found in gardens on rural and regional properties.

The top 10 most common birds overall were of course, the typical urban winners - the big, the bossy and the brave. These birds tend to be ones that can eat a whole range of different foods, bully other species, or relish in the habitat features like big open lawns that are found throughout our towns and cities.

Common NameReporting Rate (% surveys seen)
Australian Magpie43.7
Rainbow Lorikeet43.5
Noisy Miner34.2
Red Wattlebird27.4
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo24.3
Crested Pigeon21.9
Spotted Dove21.0
Pied Currawong20.3
Laughing Kookaburra19.9











Of course spring is all about breeding and babies -  and no one does this quite like the cuckoos! Almost all cuckoos are what we call 'brood parasites', that means they lay their eggs in other bird's nests and leave the new hosts to raise their young. In Australia we have 12 species of cuckoos and all but one, the Pheasant Coucal, are brood parasites. Along the east coast of Australia there are two cuckoos that are notorious for their loud calls and noisy behaviour and both of them were seen commonly this spring. The Eastern Koel was recorded in 6% of surveys and the Channel-billed Cuckoo in 3.2% - these noisy birds arrive along the east coast of Australia from August each year and use some of our more successful urban birds like Australian Magpies, Pied Currawongs and Red Wattlebirds as their hosts. Increasingly they are turned up further south as well - with sightings from Melbourne much more frequent than they used to be. While they are the noisiest and most common cuckoos in our urban landscapes, they are not the only cuckoos we see. The Spring survey saw 7 other cuckoo species recorded in low numbers including the Pheasant Coucal, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Brush Cuckoo, Horsfields Bronze-cuckoo, Little Bronze-cuckoo, Pallid Cuckoo and Shining Cuckoo.

Lots of birds were observed breeding this spring as well - with 127 different breeding bird species (covering the full spectrum of nest building through to recently fledged chicks). Unsurprisingly the Australian Magpie (67 different sites) was the most commonly observed breeding birds, but we had great records of Purple-crowned Lorikeets, Rainbow Bee-eaters, New Holland Honeyeaters, Willie Wagtails and many more. We also had 21 nest boxes in gardens that were filled with a range of wildlife including possums and gliders, bees, and even a monitor! On the bird front there were a mix of species including Striated Pardalotes, Laughing Kookaburras, Australian Wood Ducks and Eastern Rosellas.

Stay tuned as we take a dive into the Birds in Backyards survey data for 2021 to give you an annual overview early in 2022. We will also be welcoming on board a Masters student and taking a look at the habitat preferences of our amazing urban birds, using these to shape recommendations on how you can make your garden more bird-friendly. These recommendations are based on the data that YOU send us, so please keep sending those surveys in.

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