The Birdwatchers Monitoring Kit
The Birdwatchers monitoring kit is a series of fact sheets and data collection templates designed to help everyone – from beginners to experienced, get started in bird monitoring.
- Get yourself at least one field guide to the Birds of Australia (options include: Pizzey and Knight, Simpson and Day, Slater, Morcombe).
- Use the field guide and observations in your local area to get to know the features of the main woodland bird families (groupings) such as thornbills, whistlers and robins.
- Use your field guide to nut out key features such as field marks and behaviour. Field marks are the particular feather patterns, coloration, size, shape, bill structure, etc that help us distinguish closely related groups of birds.
- Knowing what our typical local species are also helps. It narrows down the range of possibilities for a new unknown bird that you have seen or heard. The Bird checklist for the Mount Alexander region lists the birds that are seen in this area.
- Make sure to familiarise yourself with BirdLife Australia’s ethical birdwatching guidelines to ensure that you adhere to environmental legislation when birdwatching and don’t have a negative impact on the birds.
- BirdLife Castlemaine District run bird walks on the first Saturday of the month. All ages and abilities welcome. BirdLife Castlemaine District also have a great newsletter, with all the latest local bird news. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to keep in the loop
- Castlemaine Field Naturalists are very much into birds, and carry out both the Swift Parrot counts, and the Annual Bird Count in December.
- BirdLife Ballarat often has excursions in this region, for example to Maryborough.
- Connecting Country is an affiliated group of BirdLife Australia. Keep in touch with all things natural history related in the Mount Alexander region by becoming a member and subscribing to the Connecting Country blog.
- BirdLife Australia: Australia’s peak birding organisation
- Birdata: The gateway to BirdLife Australia data including the Atlas of Australian Birds and Nest Record scheme.
- Birds in Backyards: A research, education and conservation program focusing on the birds where people live.
- Eremaea Birdlines: Interesting and unusual bird observations. Visit the Victorian section if you are interested in rare bird updates, such as Swift Parrot sightings.
Everyone has a favourite field guide – and indeed it is best to have a range of guides as each has different things to offer.
The following guides are a good starting point:
- The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight.
- Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Ken Simpson and Nicolas Day.
- Birds of Australia, S. Breeden and P. Slater.
- Field Guide to Australian Birds, Michael Morcombe.
Group sites – an easy way to start bird monitoring
Group atlas sites encourage people to establish survey sites which other birdwatchers can visit, to optimise the amount of data that can be generated at individual sites. These group sites have been created in partnership with BirdLife Australia; and developed with the beginner in mind.
Submitting your sightings
We encourage our birdwatchers to submit sightings directly to Birdata, as this reduces data handling time. You can download the free Birdata app, or enter your sightings from a computer. Click here
Alternatively, you can print out a hard copy data sheet, and send it to Connecting Country: Bird Monitoring Data sheet
Whether you are a beginning or experienced birdwatcher, we hope that you will enjoy contributing your sightings to Connecting Country and BirdLife Australia.
Please do not hesitate to contact Anna Senior, Monitoring Coordinator, with any questions.
Phone: 0493 362 394