October 17 - 23, 2021: Issue 514


Bird Week 2021 Bird Count Vital For Pittwater Data - Where Have All Our Birds Gone?

Aussie Backyard Bird Count 2021

The Aussie Backyard Bird Count is one of Australia’s biggest citizen science events. This year is BirdLife Australia's eighth count, and we’re hoping it will be our biggest yet.

The celebration of National Bird Week has its origins back in the early 1900s when October 28 was first designated by BirdLife Australia's predecessor, the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union, as the first 'Bird Day'.

As residents have been reporting birds being displaced by developments where every single tree on a block has been razed, and those that live there then fan out into streets adjacent, fighting other birds for a perch in a tree or a space to build a nest, ludicrously allowed during Spring time and during the months of the year when our area becomes home to seasonal visitors, the data collected may reflect the ongoing impact of unchecked habitat destruction and lead to what clearly needs to change.

BirdLife Australia has reported this week that the Superb Fairy-wrens, once a familiar sight across urban parks and gardens of south-eastern Australia, have dropped dramatically over the last seven years of Bird Counts. In Pittwater, the places they were frequently sighted in family groups are now completely devoid of these beautiful birds, even though their habitat remains. 

What is chasing them away? Who is hounding them out of their own homes? Who is responsible for ensuring this does not occur and failing in their simple task?

“In Melbourne and Perth, the reporting rates of fairy-wrens have almost halved over this time,” says BirdLife Australia’s National Public Affairs Manager, Sean Dooley.

“These much-loved birds are usually found in suburbs that have corridors of native bushland close by so their rapid disappearance, along with a number of other small bush birds, is cause for grave concern.”

Male Superb Fairy Wren from colony at Careel Bay Playing Fields in 2012 - no longer present. 

Join thousands of people around the country in exploring your backyard, local park or favourite outdoor space and help them learn more about the birds that live where people live. Taking part in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count is a great way to connect with the birds in your backyard, no matter where your backyard happens to be. You can count in a suburban garden, a local park, a patch of forest, down by the beach, or the main street of town. ⁠

To take part, register on the website today, then during the count you can use the web form or the app to submit your counts. Just enter your location and get counting ‒ each count takes just 20 minutes!

Not only will you be contributing to BirdLife Australia's knowledge of Aussie birds, but there are also some incredible prizes on offer. ⁠Head over to the Aussie Backyard Bird Count website to find out more. 

The 2021 event will run from October 18‒24 during National Bird Week. Register as a counter today at: aussiebirdcount.org.au

Below run some birds counted in the PON yard and adjacent playing fields, parks, bays, creek and wetlands further south.

Eastern Curlew at Careel Bay foreshore in October 2011 - the two above this were photographed in Careel creek years later; haven't been seen again since 2016