Birdwatching in Mackay

Birdwatching in Mackay

by Lucy Martin, Daily Mercury

All throughout Australia, keen twitchers are counting birds for an important study – the Aussie Backyard Bird Count. Mackay birdwatcher and president of the local birdwatching group Daryl Barnes is helping locate and record species in Mackay.

How did you get involved in the count?
I received information from head office in Melbourne advising of activities coming up.

What is the purpose of the project?
The purpose of the project is to establish what people are seeing/attracting to their backyards, whether it is in an urban environment or a rural one.

Birdlife has been trying to encourage people to enhance their house, yard, gardens to encourage habitat for the smaller bird species to live, as trends suggest that larger birds are tending to dominate and force some of our smaller species into vulnerable situations where their survival becomes insecure.

We are also invited to go to our local parks and open spaces to do the survey.
The Aussie Bird Count app is at

It is very user friendly and easy to negotiate. All records are recorded and submitted via the app, which is timed at 20 minutes per survey.

Why are you doing it?
The more people who participate in the survey the better, as this will provide a bigger overall picture when analysing the results.

What have you seen?
So far in my backyard this week I have recorded 31 different species of birds. Some birds of note include the white-browed robin, emerald dove, nankeen night heron, azure kingfisher, red whiskered bulbul, mistletoebird and pacific baza.

How many birds have you counted?
The number of birds in total has been 104.

Where are the best birdwatching places in Mackay?
Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens is a good place to start, the mouth of Shellgrit Creek at high tide for shorebirds, the Sandfly Creek walk, the Gooseponds, the harbour wetlands, Slade Point Reserve, Blacks Beach spit and Bucasia Beach.

What is your favourite bird?
My favourite bird is the buff-breasted paradise kingfisher. It is a migrant visitor that comes from New Guinea to certain locations in Queensland to breed.

What are your tips for birdwatching?
Persistence and patiance are two words that immediately spring to mind when giving tips to good birdwatching.

To see the wonderful range of birds in our environment, you need to get out in the field as often as you can. Gaining knowledge and experience will come in time.

Ethically, the welfare of the birds should always come first, particularly when they are nesting.