National Bird Week calling Canberrans to backyards to count their feathered friends

Max O'Driscoll 18 October 2021
Peregrine falcon on branch

Have you seen a bird like Yass’ local peregrine falcon near you? Photo: Tom O’Dea Visual Storytelling.

Boasting more than two hundred recorded bird species, Canberra has more birds to admire than any other capital city in Australia.

That’s why to coincide with National Bird Week – which commenced on Monday, 18 October, and runs until Sunday, 24 October – BirdLife Australia is calling Canberrans to their backyards to count the birds they see.

Last year’s campaign saw Australians count a total of 4.6 million birds from their backyards and nearby public spaces, making it one of the nation’s largest citizen science activities.

More than 450,000 birds have already been counted in this year’s ‘Aussie Bird Count’, the eighth year it has run.

Infographic of the backyard birds of Canberra

Infographic of the backyard birds of Canberra. Image: Birds in Backyards.

The Birds in Backyards team has created the above graphic to aid Canberrans in their bird spotting this time around.

At the top of last year’s national leaderboard was the rainbow lorikeet, with noisy myners, magpies, sulphur-crested cockatoos and galahs rounding out the top five. The polarising white ibis – colloquially known as the ‘bin-chicken’ – finished 10th.

Perhaps unsurprising to our region’s many swooping victims, the Australian magpie has reigned supreme on the ACT leaderboard for three years running, besting the sulphur-crested cockatoo and crested pigeon in second and third place, respectively.

Australian magpie standing on gravel

Australian magpies are the most sighted birds in Canberra backyards for the past three years. Photo: Beth Hope.

While geographic location is the most significant influencing factor when it comes to the birds one might find in their backyard, according to the Birds in Backyards team – a research, education and conservation program of BirdLife Australia – there are certain things you can do to encourage birds into your area.

These include providing a shaded water source for birds to bathe and drink from; avoiding the use of strong chemical sprays on plants and trees; and keeping pets in your house as much as possible.

To submit your backyard’s bird count, head to Aussie Bird Count.

Each individual bird count contributes to a valuable pool of information considered vital for BirdLife Australia in ensuring it can identify the native Australian birds in need of conservation.


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