Birdlife Australia urges residents to keep their eyes on the skies

FOWL: Birdlife Australia has urged members of the community to contribute to science by counting birds. Photo: Hannah Neale.
FOWL: Birdlife Australia has urged members of the community to contribute to science by counting birds. Photo: Hannah Neale.

Everyday people have been encouraged to grab their binoculars and take out their phones to help scientists record bird population numbers after recent fires.

Birdlife Australia has urged members of the community to contribute to science by counting birds. The observations will be critical to inform post-bushfire recovery planning.

Budding citizen scientists can download the Birdata app or head to the web page to get involved with the project.

Goulburn Field and Naturalist Society president Frank Antram, known as the 'Bird Man', said the full effects of bushfires to the bird population were not yet known.

"A lot of their habitat has been destroyed and it'll take a couple of years before we understand the impact," he said.

"If there is no habitat and food they are not going to survive, it will take years to come back."

Despite this Mr Antram said birds were quite resourceful.

The Goulburn Field and Naturalist Society has been involved with survey work for NSW Parks and Wildlife and other organisations.

"We [donate our time] because we like to do it,' Mr Antam said.

A preliminary study by Birdlife Australia revealed 19 species of bird had more than half of their habitat heavily impacted by fire, and another 58 had lost more than a third.

Head of research James O'Connor said "the number of threatened Australian birds may rise by over 25 per cent in a matter of months, it's staggering and tragic."

"We're picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves off for the challenges ahead.

"Once we've completed these assessments, the next steps are to get people out there to see what is left, find the refuges fire has spared, and start working to protect them.

"These birds are going to need a lot of help on the ground, whether that be translocating birds, providing emergency food resources, or working with fire managers to improve protection from future fires."

Birdlife Australia urged people to only enter bushfire affected areas when it was safe to do so.

Head to birdata.birdlife.org.au for more information and to record numbers.

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This story Birdlife Australia urges residents to keep their eyes on the skies first appeared on Goulburn Post.