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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.

Birding at home delivers a bumper autumn survey season! 

While we are all dealing with these rather different times I assume the majority of you are spending a lot of time at home. Thus resulting in too many snacks, multiple cups of warm beverages, trying to juggle work around the kids or maybe you are enjoying the slow down from our busy lifestyles.

The past couple of months have been hard for everyone across Australia, as we have stood together to stop the spread of COVID-19. But even at difficult times like this, you can rely on birds to bring you joy, solace and a connection to the natural world.

With most of us spending much more time at home, you may be noticing the wonderful wildlife that you are sharing our space with. Not only is it great for us to connect with nature, but by becoming a citizen scientist, you can also contribute to our understanding of how our bird life is faring and what we can do to create great bird-friendly spaces.

Owls, kites and other birds of prey are dying from eating rats and mice that have ingested Second Generation rodent poisons. These household products – including Talon, Fast Action RatSak and The Big Cheese Fast Action brand rat and mice bait – have been banned from general public sale in the US, Canada and EU, but are available from supermarkets throughout Australia.  

Identifying birds is a skill, but one that anyone can practice (and believe me, you never stop practicing). Here are some things to look for if you see a mystery bird in your yard: 

Nearly 800 surveys were conducted at more than 250 locations across Australia during the summer period, demonstrating Birds in Backyards surveyors aren’t to be deterred by seasonal festivities nor challenging weather conditions! A total of 36,797 individual birds were counted, representing 290 species - what a fantastic commitment from all surveyors!

With COVID-19 meaning we are all spending almost, if not, all of our time at home, it is the perfect opportunity to become acquainted with your birdy neighbours. Birds in Backyards surveys can be submitted at any time, and as often as you like. Your data tells us how our urban birds are doing and how our gardens, and our own behaviour in those gardens can impact on the birds visiting. 

Australia has been through a lot over the past few months and most of us have felt helpless and distraught by it all. I have put together a few simple ways to help and, if each one of us makes one small change, in the grand scheme of things, it would be a big national movement.

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