THIS year, from October 17 to 23, all Australians were invited by Birds Australia and the Birds in Backyards Program to spend 20 minutes a day recording the species of birds observed in their backyard or a favourite place, such as a park, beach or local nature reserve.
Over 61,000 Australians responded to the challenge, counting almost 1,400.000 birds.
The aim of the Aussie Backyard Bird Count is to help Birdlife Australia find out about the common bird species that live with us in our backyards or other urban spaces.
Information provided by the public allows for a comprehensive look at Australian birds.
This gives Birdlife Australia an opportunity to look for trends in our bird communities, which is important because it is these more common species that give us the best indication of the health of our environment.
Birds can be regarded as nature's barometer.
October is the month selected for the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, as spring is the month when birds are most visible. It is then when birds begin flocking, breeding and nesting. Spring is also the time when migrant birds return to Australia, many to breed.
The top 10 most counted birds in Australia were, in order: Rainbow Lorikeet (Orange has a small resident flock), Noisy Miner, Australian Magpie, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Galah, Red Wattlebird, House Sparrow, Common Myna, Silver Gull and Welcome Swallow.
There were very few changes to this order from last year, the most notable being the less common sighting of the House Sparrow, which has been noted worldwide.
We can do our bit for the birds in our backyards by planting species of plants which provide food for them, such as those that produce nectar, are seed bearing or attract insects.
A source of water in your backyard which is safe from cats is also helpful for birds, especially as the weather is starting to heat up with the arrival of summer.
More information about the Aussie Bird Count can be found at aussiebirdcount.org.au2016-results