Birdlife Australia is currently urging everyone to get out and get counting birds in their backyards and neighbourhoods, in order to participate a simultaeneous national count, celebrating Bird Week, which ends on Sunday 26th October.
To help you get involved there is a user friendly Aussie Backyard Bird Counter phone app they have developed to help people identify the birds in their local area and not be daunted by the need to open up a guide with listings of thousands of birds, that can be extremely intimidating for inexperienced birders.
Birding is fun and a hobby that can be taken up at any age or level. Whilst I was encouraged and trained in birdwatching from the time I was a small child, I have never lost my enthusiasm for the activity. It brings me closer to the environment and its ecosystem, from my own backyard, to Lake Wendouree, to anywhere else I travel to.
Although I adore birding, I have not taken it to the level that one of my friends has, who annually volunteers to help catch, identify and tag migratory birds interstate and has even travelled to Antartica to witness its extraordinary and rich birdlife.
Don't worry if you can't tell the difference between the South Eastern Magpie pictured left and the Peewee above it at the moment.
If you look carefully the Peewee has lots more white on its brest, eyebrows and cheeks. Its beak and legs are finer.
The Magpie has a white back and beak, its head is wider and it is taller than the Mudlark.
Birdlife Australia will help you with just such information about bird identification, including call recognition, habitat and habits. You can become involved and participate in activities that will nurture and extend you knowledge of bird species and ability to identify them.
It is waiting for you to download and get started.
Remember a permanent water source such as a birdbath in your garden, as well as indigenous and other bird attracting plants will attract birds into your yard and life.
This means you don't even have to leave home to regulaly engage in birding.
I have placed a birdbath where I can watch it from my kitchen and sunroom and love seeing the many species of birds that make regular use of it.
Today, I am spending twenty minutes counting them all, to be part of this exciting initiative!
Happy counting and may the birds be with us!
Fiona Ludbrook is the Client Services Director of Pets and Plants Ballarat. Now, entrepreneur and blogger, she was born and bred in Ballarat, but spent many years as a teacher in Melbourne’s