Invite to the Aussie Backyard Bird Count on October 21

AUSSIE BIRD COUNT: Hastings Birdwatchers Club president Peter West in his backyard.

AUSSIE BIRD COUNT: Hastings Birdwatchers Club president Peter West in his backyard.

Students, families and keen wildlife enthusiasts are cleaning their binoculars in preparation for the annual Aussie Backyard Bird Count.

The national census of avian wildlife is held during National Bird Week from October 21 to 27 with residents counting birds in their urban, rural and regional backyards.

Hastings Birdwatchers Club president Peter West said the event hosted by Birdlife Australia attracts many participants across the Hastings.

"There are quite a few people around who are regular bird watchers in the Hastings but lots of people of course know about birds in general and will take part in this," he said.

"I think that the whole idea is that people can do a count in their garden but if people are interested in doing a count they could go to the beach or a local park.

"It is designed for people like me who have been doing this for 40 years but also designed for kids to be able to do it."

During the count, participants use the specially designed app, Aussie Bird Count to identify local birds based on size, colour and location from October 1.

More than 610 species were recorded in 2018 with the Rainbow Lorikeet, Noisy Miner and Australian Magpie confirmed as Australia's most recorded species.

They were followed by the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo, House Sparrow, Galah, Silver Gull, Common Myna, Welcome Swallow and Red Wattlebird.

"Rainbow lorikeets were the most common bird recorded last year, but we are gifted in the Hastings area with at least three other lorikeets people can see. They are all very colourful and noisy," said Mr West.

"We do have some very rare birds around here such as a Regent Honeyeater, of which there are about 300 to 450 left. These have been seen in previous counts and people could see super rare birds like that.

"One of the birds we see here which people in Sydney never see and would kill for in their backyard is the Regent Bowerbird. A black and yellow, stunning looking bird.

"People may even see things like brush turkeys along creeks and forests. There are lots of unique birds like that which people can spot around the Hastings."

AUSSIE BIRD COUNT: Magpies always attract big numbers during the count. Photo; Robert Dougherty.

AUSSIE BIRD COUNT: Magpies always attract big numbers during the count. Photo; Robert Dougherty.

This will be the fifth consecutive year of the count and Mr West said more people were embracing events like this to become more familiar with the natural environment.

"I think that people in general find birds are beautiful. We live in a society where nature is getting put more and more on the back burner as we become more city focused," he said.

"Birds are an easy link that we can relate to nature and I think a lot of people do the Count because it gives them that opportunity to be in the natural environment.

"For me personally it's like fishermen going fishing, I can put my mind on remote control and relax."

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