Birds are a big part of our life on the Northern Beaches, and plenty of us spend time bird watching at our favourite bush reserve or feeding birds in our backyards.

Many of our birds are at risk from loss of habitat, from non-native predators such as cats and, in some cases, because we are feeding them food that is not good for their health.

In the latest episode of Radio Northern Beaches show and podcast, The Coast, host Wendy Frew talks to Dr Holly Parsons, the Urban Bird Program Manager at BirdLife Australia, about how we can put our bird-watching skills to good use by taking part in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count 18-24 October.

Dr Parsons also explains how to be careful when we feed birds and what happens when we give them inappropriate foods.

Wendy also interviews Dr Leah Tsang from the Australian Museum about one bird that is attracting our attention right now – the big, noisy and brazen Channel-billed Cuckoo. Exactly what is this bird doing in other birds’ nests?

The 2021 Aussie Backyard Bird Count will run from 18‒24 October during National Bird Week. It is organised annually by BirdLife Australia, a not-for-profit founded in 1901, which is dedicated to the conservation of Australian birds and their habitats through advocacy, field work and targeted research.

Last year, the survey which relies on everyday Australians volunteering to count birds in their favourite outdoor space, saw a record 4.95m birds counted over the week.

To participate this year, register at the Aussie Backyard Bird Count website. Each daily count can be submitted via an app for Apple or Android phones, or submitted via the website.

Participants need to commit 20 minutes per day in a favourite outdoor space and may complete as many 20-minute counts as desired until Sunday, 24 October.

There is an opportunity to win prizes, national totals will update in real time, and the app will allow participants to see species spotted in their local area.

BirdLife Australia says the data will help to protect almost 900 bird species and their habitats in Australia.

The Coast is broadcast on Fridays at 11.00am on Radio Northern Beaches (88.7/90.3FM) or listen at any time on-demand.

Image: Northern Beaches Advocate
Video: BirdLife Australia

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