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Dear ,

Like most of the nation, we’re still reeling at the devastation that the bushfire season has wrought so far. It will be many months and in some cases years before the full impact on birds is known, and even longer before the natural areas that are their homes can recover. 

We understand that many of you are eager to help contribute to monitoring efforts and these will be critical to informing post-recovery planning. When it is safe to do so, you can assist by conducting regular Birdata (2ha, 20-minute) or Birds in Backyards surveys. (If you are just starting out with Birdata, here are some helpful resources including video tutorials on recording surveys on the web portal and mobile app, survey techniques and FAQs.)    

However, we urge everyone to remain out of fire-affected areas until it is safe to do so, and to follow the advice and notifications from your local authorities. 

When it’s safe, BirdLife Australia’s own monitoring activities across the fire-affected areas will recommence. Until then we are working with our partners to map the habitat areas for birds most at risk of extinction against fire-damaged areas. 

Yet the impact on our birdlife from these massive bushfires extends far beyond the fire scars. So even if you are not near any of these sites, your observations from around the country are still extremely valuable. 

Unusual and uncommon birds are showing up in our towns and cities seeking refuge from fires and drought. We ask you to continue your Birdata surveys wherever you regularly go birdwatching. 

Whether you’re conducting a general Birdata or a Birds in Backyards survey, we’re interested in data from both burnt and unburnt sites. Remember, surveys where no birds are sighted are important, as is updated habitat information: simply noting whether the site is burnt or unburnt will be useful. This will assist us to identify refuges within fire affected areas and help us advocate for their protection. 

In the short term, please simply enter this fire information (e.g. “burnt”, “unburnt”) in the notes section. We will be adding a dedicated button to record this information in the app and on the web portal.  

Your personal safety is of the utmost importance. 

Stay safe,  

James O'Connor, Head of Research

Photo Banner: Laughing Kookaburra, Wallabi Point, NSW © Adam Stevenson

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