Council Environmental Officer Samantha Pascall stands on the looking platform at Marrambidya Wetlands looking out across the water. She holds a book in her hands titled 'Birds of Australia'.
BIRD COUNT:  The 2023 Aussie Bird Count is on next week from Monday 16 to Sunday 22 October this year. Council is encouraging residents to get involved and will be offering free guidance to those wishing to take part.


Bird is the word! Aussie Bird Count on again this year

Published: 12 Oct 2023 9:25am

It's time again this year to dust off the binoculars and head outside as part of the BirdLife Australia Aussie Bird Count taking place over one week, from Monday 16 to Sunday 22 October.

Wagga Wagga City Council is encouraging residents to take part in this fun activity for all ages and is offering multiple free guided sessions over the week to assist anyone wanting to get involved.

The Aussie Bird Count is a national event which involves the observing and counting of birds in your local area.

You can watch from the comfort of your own home, or venture outside to a local park, walking track, or one of our many conservation areas.

Council’s Environmental Education Officer Christina Reid says whether you are an avid bird watcher or looking for a new activity to try, this initiative is for everyone.

“There are so many reasons to take part! It’s such a fun thing to do, it’s free and it’s really easy,” Ms Reid said.

To take part in the bird count, you will need to register online and complete a short form on the Aussie Bird Count website.

“You can participate from home by recording what you see in your own backyard, or you can head out and discover which species are present in our beautiful conservation areas."

“Choose a time that suits you to count as many birds as you can see in a 20-minute period.

“You can use your smart phone to enter details via the free Aussie Bird Count app, or you can write down what you see and log your findings when you get back to your computer via the website.

“There’s also a helpful tool built into the app to help you identify birds you’re unsure of.

“It’s very user friendly for both beginners or experts, and you will learn something every day.”

Data collected by citizen scientists – like the participants in the Aussie Bird Count – play a vital role in informing councils, environmental officers, and organisations like BirdLife Australia of the health of Australia’s ecosystems.

Two Darter birds sit perched on a log atop the water of Marrambidya Wetlands.

Environmental Officer Samantha Pascall says as a supporter of the count, Council receives access to local data of identified species and how many people took part.

“Last year we saw 246 Wagga residents participating in the count to record more than 15,000 individual birds, which included 124 separate species,” Ms Pascall said.

“While the most common bird nationally was the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, the most common bird spotted in the local area was the Australian Magpie. However, we also recorded six threatened species, such as the Dusky Woodswallow and the Brown Treecreeper.”

This year Council’s Environment team will be assisting those wishing to take part in the activity.

Getting involved in the count is not the only way residents can help contribute to the future of birdlife, our backyards also have an important role in supporting their longevity.

“By making small changes in your backyard, you can help secure their future, while also enjoying the presence of your new feathered visitors,” Ms Reid said.

“Adding to your existing plants helps provide food and shelter, including a variety of different-sized native plants to help create a multi-layered habitat for different species, ensuring there is lots of ground cover plants to produce shelter, nesting materials, and seeds.

“Placing a bird bath or two for water is a great option, and there are many low-cost alternatives such as old cooking pots or saucers, or garden pot plates.”

Over the shoulder shot of an open book titled 'Birds of Australia' which is being held by Council Environmental Officer Samantha Pascall. Her left hand points to an image of a Great Billed Heron.

Council staff will be available for 30 minutes each day in different locations across the city, so residents can ask questions and see how the count works:

  • Monday 16 October at 8:30am at Wagga Beach – meet at the original Kiosk building.
  • Tuesday 17 October at 4pm at the Marrumbidya Wetlands, 100 Narrung Street, Wagga Wagga – meet at the covered presentation area.
  • Wednesday 18 October at 9am at Flowerdale Lagoon – meet at the carpark on the corner of Sturt Highway and Edward Street (West).
  • Thursday 19 October at 4pm at the Botanic Gardens, Macleay Street, Turvey Park – meet at the Music Bowl.
  • Friday 20 October at 10am at Lake Albert – meet at Lake Albert Picnic Area at Apex Park, Lake Street.
  • Sunday 21 and Sunday 22 October – staff will not be available this day, but it is a great opportunity to go off on your own and choose a place to explore.

For more information and to register visit the Aussie Bird Count website.