Environment

Aussie Backyard Bird Count paints a sky of rainbows in NSW

Hannah Sparks4 December 2020
Rainbow lorikeet on a colourful branch.

Australians spotted more than half a million rainbow lorikeets during the 2020 Aussie Backyard Bird Count. Photo: Trevor McKinnon.

Australia’s iconic rainbow lorikeet, noisy miner and sulphur-crested cockatoo have held onto their top spots as the most commonly sighted birds in NSW.

These birds were sighted by thousands of people who took part in the 2020 Aussie Backyard Bird Count.


READ ALSO: Seventeen bushwalkers rescued from Bungonia National Park


Nationally, more than 108,000 people spotted a record-breaking 4.6 million birds – compared to 3.4 million in 2019 – in seven days from 19-25 October. This makes the Aussie Backyard Bird Count one of Australia’s biggest citizen science events, attracting counters of all ages, including more than 1500 schools.

Infographic of the top 10 birds from the Aussie Backyard Bird Count 2020.

The top 10 birds spotted during the 2020 Aussie Backyard Bird Count. Photo: BirdLife Australia.

“With so many of us forced to slow down during the COVID-19 lockdown, we suddenly became aware that birds are all around us, no matter where they are,” says BirdLife Australia’s Sean Dooley.

“This interest has certainly flowed into the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, with record numbers of people taking part. The Aussie Backyard Bird Count has broken the record for the number of surveys conducted and the number of birds counted.”


READ ALSO: SAS Australia season two to return in 2021, but where?


The rainbow lorikeet was also the most sighted bird nationally, and has been for the past six years. More than half a million of the species were sighted this year.

“These colourful birds have finished on top every year since the Aussie Bird Count began in 2014,” says Sean.

A sulphur-crested cockatoo perches on a photographer's shoulder.

The cheeky sulphur-crested cockatoo was the second-most sighted bird in NSW. Photo: Laya Clode.

The rise of the rainbow lorikeet highlights the changes in Aussie backyards during the past half-century, with traditional European-style cottage gardens making way for native backyards which provide the perfect place for these nectar-loving birds to forage on the flowers of eucalypts, bottle-brushes and grevilleas to harvest nectar and pollen.

The noisy miner and cheeky sulphur-crested cockatoo were also the second- and third-most sighted species in NSW again this year.

Nationally, the noisy miner and magpie were the second and third most sighted species, followed by the sulphur-crested cockatoo and galah. The Australian white ibis finished in 10th spot.

Sean says the information gathered during the Aussie Backyard Bird Count will feed into BirdLife Australia’s databases and will provide a much clearer picture of what’s happening with local bird populations across the country.

The next Aussie Backyard Bird Count will take place between 18-24 October, 2021.

What's Your Opinion?

Top