What & When to Report

How do I know if something is really worth reporting?

All reports are of value, if you’re sure of the identification.

In 2014 COG is especially interested in reports of Gang-gang Cockatoo.

Surveys of all species are also especially valuable.

Reports of single species for any of the following are also of great value:

  • any indication of breeding, of any species common or rare, especially unseasonal breeding,
  • if you see more individuals of a species than usual, (e.g. more than 2 Grey Currawongs, more than 2 raptors of the same species)
  • if you see a species that is unusual in a location, (e.g. Powerful Owl in the Botanic Gardens).
  • birds seen out of season (e.g. Rufous Songlark in winter; Flame Robin in the lowlands in summer)
  • the arrival of migrants in your area
  • birds whose status is ‘migrant/resident’ (e.g. Grey Fantail, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike)
  • threatened species or those known to be declining
  • vagrants.

The most recent COG Annual Bird Report will help answer questions such as, how commonly ‘summer migrants’ overwinter; how many hobbies are generally seen together; or how common is it to see Golden Whistlers breeding.

If in doubt, please report your observation.

What should I do if I’m not sure about the identity of a bird?

If you see enough to be able to describe it reasonably well, especially if you have a photo, send details to the Rarities Panel rarities@canberrabirds.org.au – the Panel assists birders with identification as well as assessing reports of rarities.
If you prefer, subscribe to the COG chat line and post your description, and photo if you have one which is not too large, and the experienced birders will offer their views.

Where should I survey?

Anywhere in COG’s Area of Interest.  The easy-to-reach sites noted for their good variety of birds are heavily represented in COG’s Annual Bird Report. Therefore we also encourage birders to submit observations for less often visited parts of the Canberra Nature Park and Namadgi National Park.

How often should I survey the same site?

If you walk through the same area on a daily basis, COG would be interested in a report, once per fortnight/month, supplemented by incidental records of unusual sightings on the other days.
If you have registered a formal BLA 2-ha site, please report quarterly (once each season).

I’ve been watching a nest – how often should I put in reports?

Once for each stage of the breeding process (nest building, on nest, feeding young etc).

How do I know which birds are unusual in the Canberra region?

COG’s Rarities Panel publishes a list of ‘unusual’ birds in the ACT.  Many birds that are designated ‘unusual’ in the ACT are quite common elsewhere.