On Monday 18 October, the 2021 Aussie Backyard Bird Count begins! This annual outbreak of citizen bird-geekery involves observing and counting the birds that live near you – whether that’s in a backyard, local park, or even a town-centre green space. Participants record observations within a 20-minute period, and the data goes to BirdLife Australia, … Continue reading Feeling twitchy? Get ready for the Aussie Backyard Bird Count
The fledgling discipline of ecoacoustics has added a remarkable diagnostic tool to field biology: a valid and reliable way to prove the absence of our most secretive species. Unless you’re a fugitive, an ecologist or a crocodile, swamps are terrible. Yes, yes, yes – very important ecological super niches and all that. But the mud, … Continue reading Fantastically elusive birds and how to find them
A good magician knows the secret of a quick getaway – create an illusion! And it seems like some Australian birds are feathered Houdinis when it comes to distracting predators. Some birds only flash their colours when they are moving, creating the illusion that they are a different animal. A new study, published in Proceedings … Continue reading Some birds use illusion to escape
An Australian study has set out to measure the number of birds worldwide, returning an estimate of 50 billion – although the uncertainty on that number is large. “Humans have spent a great deal of effort counting the members of our own species – all 7.8 billion of us,” says Will Cornwell, an associate professor … Continue reading There are about 50 billion birds alive today
The sight of a sulphur-crested cockatoo raiding a household wheelie bin might do little more than irritate the average person left to clean up the mess. However, for researchers at the Big City Birds citizen science project, it’s an exciting demonstration of the way birds are adapting to a changing environment. “We have reports of … Continue reading Changing behaviours of birds
In celebration of National Bird Week, Australia’s largest annual citizen science event has kicked off, running until 25 October. The Aussie Backyard Bird Count, run by BirdLife Australia, asks participants to count the number of native bird species they see. The data provides an annual snapshot of Australian birds and can then be used to … Continue reading Aussie Backyard Bird Count takes flight
The area surrounding bushfires dictates what species survive and which thrive afterwards, finds a new Australian study. Influencing the re-building of post-fire ecological communities was the species in the surrounding unburnt landscape, as well as the surrounding natural vegetation. The study, which looked at Victorian areas affected by bushfires, has been published in the journal … Continue reading What happens to wildlife after bushfires?