Parkes Shire Council is once again encouraging residents to make a difference for bird conservation by participating in the 2022 Aussie Bird Count. This year, the event runs during National Bird Week from Monday 17 to Sunday 23 October 2022.
Each year, participants head out to their front yards, backyards, courtyards, parks and play areas to count how many birds and species they see. This provides researchers with a snapshot of Australia's urban and more common bird species.
To participate in the Aussie Bird Count, residents are required to spend at least 20 minutes in one location recording and counting the bird species that they observe. Data collected is then submitted through the Aussie Bird Count app or through an online web form.
Council's Environment and Sustainability Officer, Michael Chambers said, "The annual Aussie Bird Count is a great way for residents to enjoy the outdoors and learn about the birds across the Parkes Shire. In 2021, 112 Shire residents participated, and we would love to see similar or even greater participation in 2022.
"Residents should be able to easily identify most birds, however, it is possible that a few elusive species will show up. One of the fun aspects of the Aussie Bird Count is getting more acquainted with the urban species that occur in our Shire," added Mr Chambers.
Originating in 2014, the Aussie Bird Count has become one of the largest citizen science projects in Australia. The event helps fill critical knowledge gaps concerning urban bird species and raises the profile of native birds throughout Australia by highlighting their cultural and ecological importance.
Collecting bird data during October each year allows researchers to look at the trends in Australia's bird communities over time. This provides greater insights into the behaviour, abundance and distribution of common birds living near, or within, urban environments. Given birds are a great indicator of the overall state of the environment, this data can help inform environmental management decisions.
In its eighth year, the 2021 Aussie Bird Count saw more than one hundred thousand Australians take to their local green spaces to count nearly 5 million individual birds. Across the Parkes Shire, residents recorded a total of 5,013 individual birds across 86 species.
The most recorded species across the Parkes Shire was the Galah, followed by Crested Pigeons, House Sparrows, Apostlebirds and Australian Magpies. Several species listed as 'vulnerable' under federal legislation were also sighted, including Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (Pink Cockatoo), Grey-Crowned Babbler, Brown Treecreeper, Dusky Wood Swallow, Superb Parrot and the Speckled Warbler.
Data obtained from annual Aussie Bird Counts helps Council increase environmental engagement among residents, informs land management decisions and can indicate the impacts of tree planting efforts across the Shire.
For residents interested in attracting more wildlife to their gardens, Council will be giving away native shrubs and trees at the Spring Fling Market on Saturday 22 October.