2021 Aussie Backyard Bird Count results
Bird Count finds Common Myna not quite so common
With its harsh squawking calls and aggression towards other birds, you could say the Common (or Indian) Myna is one of Australia’s least popular birds.
As the results are released for the 2021 Aussie Backyard Bird Count, some bird lovers may be pleased to learn that these birds are no longer one of the ones ruling the national roost, dropping out of Australia’s 10 most common birds.
Each year, tens of thousands of Australians head outside to take part in BirdLife Australia’s Aussie Backyard Bird Count, the nation’s largest citizen science event, with this year breaking the record for the most people counting birds in one day.
Having spread their range across much of eastern Australia, mynas have been a constant fixture on the list of our most common birds in the count — until this year!
“Common Mynas have continued their march in recent years, steadily spreading their range over eastern Australia,” National Public Affairs Manager at BirdLife Australia, Sean Dooley said. “However, we had noticed that it was slowly dropping down the list of most common birds since the Aussie Bird Count started in 2014 and this year it dropped out of the Top 10 for the first time.”
The sightings made by participants across the week of the count were sent to the bird experts at BirdLife Australia, who have been tallying up the data and analysing the results. Since the Aussie Backyard Bird Count started back in 2014, the Common Myna has consistently been among the Top 10 birds recorded across Australia, but this year it was tipped out by another familiar bird, the Red Wattlebird.
“The Common Myna is still an abundant bird, it is just that some other species have had a higher increase in numbers. It may be that some of these such as the aggressive Rainbow Lorikeet and Noisy Miner are outcompeting Common Mynas, and perhaps efforts of community groups to keep Common Myna numbers down are preventing large increases,” Mr Dooley said.
“Another recent addition to the Aussie Backyard Top 10 is the Australian White Ibis — also known as bin chickens or tip turkeys,” Sean added. “They stormed into the Top 10 in 2019 on the back of the horrendous drought we were experiencing then. We suspected that the lack of water in inland Australia had driven them towards the coast — especially the cities — in search of better conditions, and it seems they liked what they found, so they stayed!”
Consolidating its place at the top of the list was the Rainbow Lorikeet, a position it has dominated since the Count began 8 years ago, although the number two bird, the Noisy Miner (a native honeyeater and no relation to the introduced Common Myna) is starting to close the gap.
This year, Aussie Backyard Bird Count surveys were conducted in every corner of the country, and some were even submitted from farther afield, with researchers at Davis Station, in Australia’s Antarctic Territory, submitting a record number of penguin counts!
Download the 2021 results infographic here.
Download the 2021 species list for Australia and the states/territories here.
Why we need you
Collecting a huge dataset like the one we get from the Aussie Backyard Bird Count is only possible thanks to you. The vast amount of data collected from citizen science programs like the Aussie Backyard Bird Count fills a knowledge gap, particularly on urban bird species, and gives us access to areas we usually wouldn’t be able to survey, like your backyard!
As well as helping ecologists track large-scale biodiversity trends like these, it also gives people the chance to connect with their natural environment and gain a greater appreciation of our unique fauna.