About COG

Join COG today and help us care for Canberra’s birds

Canberra and the surrounding region has the richest bird life of any Australian capital city – over two hundred species have been recorded here. From our largest bird, the Emu, to the smallest, the Weebill, the birds of Canberra present an ever-changing kaleidoscope of sizes, shapes, colours and sounds. Click here for some of the native birds most commonly found in Canberra’s suburban gardens, parks and bushland.

Objects and Purposes

  • to encourage interest in, and develop knowledge of, the birds of the Canberra region;
  • to promote and co-ordinate the study of birds
  • to promote the conservation of native birds and their habitat.

What We Offer

  • Monthly meetings – with informative and entertaining expositions by experts, local, national and from overseas. Meetings are friendly and informal, providing excellent opportunities for members to exchange information and seek advice from the expert and the experienced.
  • Field trips – regular outings are held in places of ornithological interest in and around the Canberra region. These are ideal opportunities for beginners to share the bird watching experience and to learn from the more expert in the field. Weekend expeditions to more remote destinations are held at least twice a year.
  • Publications – all COG members receive our journal, Canberra Bird Notes, which contains contributions by COG members on the local scene. Gang-gang, our monthly newsletter, keeps members up to date with meetings, outings and other news.
  • Surveys – COG conducts a wide variety of surveys covering birds of Canberra’s gardens, and lakes and bushland in the Canberra region. Surveys not only provide a useful focus for bird watching, but produce important information on which conservation policies can be based. The preservation of Mulligan’s Flat nature reserve is a good example of how survey information has influenced government policy.
  • Discounts – by placing bulk pre-publication orders for new bird books, COG is able to buy books at a considerably reduced rate. Savings of 20-30% of normal retail price are passed on to members.

COG Constitution

To download a copy of the COG Constitution, click here (PDF file, 53Kb).

The Challenge

All around us birds are under threat. From housing, roads, logging, mining, and poor land management. Each year, valuable habitat is destroyed and birds are forced to retreat against advancing development. Feral cats prey on young bush birds, wild pigs destroy irreplaceable wetlands and aggressive introduced species drive Australian birds from their niches. Times are very tough for our birds. We must act now.

Yet far too little is known about our birds and their requirements for survival. Where and when do they breed? What habitats do they occupy? Do they migrate, where do they go? What foods do they eat? How will further development affect them?

The Group

To ensure a future for birds of the Canberra region, we must learn more about their habits, nesting, feeding and migration.

Canberra Ornithologists Group is committed to meeting the challenge of the study and conservation of native birds. From small beginnings 50 years ago, COG has grown into a large, effective and influential organisation that supports research and puts its case on conservation issues.

We welcome anyone with an interests in birds: beginning birdwatchers, amateurs and professionals as well as those with a general interest in nature.

COG Welcomes New Members

People with an interest in birds are most welcome to participate in COG meetings and local field trips and bird wallks. Children, accompanied by an adult, are particularly welcome. Pets should not be taken on field trips. To join COG, click here.


Do your best and never give up

What was one of the rarest birds in the world, the Mauritius Kestrel, survives-the result of the intensive efforts of a few dedicated conservationists, backed by European and North American fundraising. In 1974 there were only four such kestrels in the wild. Now in 1998, according to the February issue of On the Edge, a news magazine published by the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, ‘there are … 540 kestrels flying free in Mauritius, more than at any time this century’.

Good news indeed. The work put in by professional conservationists and volunteers has paid off.

The more we know and understand about birds, the better placed we are to ensure that they are here for the long haul.

Locally, this applies not only to vulnerable species like the Regent Honeyeater and Superb Parrot, but to currently more abundant species as well. And it applies to you, whether you are a fully employed conservationist or a casual weekend observer. We can’t all be experts, but we can all do our bit to help. Simple contributions like undertaking the Garden Bird Survey at home, volunteering to take part in the Atlas or woodland survey, contributing to the functions of the Conservation Council, or helping on the COG committee, all help to understand birds and to ensure that they are around for future generations.

Alistair Bestow

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