Winter survey time. Who is visiting your garden?

Head over to Birdata and get your Birds in Backyards Winter Survey underway

Getting started is easy. If you don't have a Birdata account, register for one, read the instructions for the web or app or watch our animated video. You can also check out our recent webinar on how to do the surveys (and why the data matters).

If you download the Birdata app (search for BirdLife in your app store) you can take your device with you to do your count. Otherwise, go to the Birdata portal to get started on your computer.

Birds in Backyards Surveys - How do I take part?

Simply spend 20 minutes somewhere you can view birds - your backyard, or other favourite space, record the bird species you see and count how many there are. We also ask you a series of questions about your garden - with questions like what sort of plants you have, if you have pets and if you feed birds. 

What’s in it for me?

When you complete a Birds in Backyards Survey in Birdata, you help us to understand our local birds and give us invaluable insight into their daily lives. You can also win great prizes! We will be giving away Birds in Backyards prize packs and even some extra special goodies throughout the year, but to win you have to enter your surveys in Birdata. Follow us on social media (our footer below) for more details.

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 (including pictures!) from your region to choose from as a starting point.

You can also get some tips and tricks from our Bird ID webinar with Sean Dooley.

What if I only have super common or introduced birds?

That is really useful! We want to know about the birds you don’t see just as much as the ones you do. So if your list is only small, all introduced birds or full of birds you don’t think are very ‘exciting’, that is still important information for us. All surveys are important so please give it a go.

Why do you ask all those garden questions?

You will see that the first time you survey a location, we ask you to fill in an 'About My Site' section. This asks you what your garden is like, who might be using it and what you do in it as well. There are a lot of questions but we use this information to look at what features might be attracting different types of birds - and use it to help people create bird-friendly gardens. Don't worry, you only have to fill in this information once, unless something has changed the next time you survey. Check out our FAQs for more tips on filling out the garden section.

Find out about what our data tells us about some of our favourite birds like the Superb Fairy-wren and Silvereyes

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. The data was recently used in a study showing the decline of even some of our most common birds in major cities across Australia.

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. Check out our blog for stories on key garden features needed for some of our favourite urban birds such as our recent investigations into the Australian Magpie.

When can 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 runs throughout 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. There is no right or wrong number of surveys to do.

Check out our survey instructions page for more info and FAQs.

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