COG’S Bird Blitz 2014

Sat 25 October 2014 12:01am

Barbara Allan

COG’s bird blitz 25-26 October 2014 – UPDATE –  20 Oct 14

The core sites on the “to be adopted” list are filling in nicely though there are still a few unloved areas – particularly to the south and south-west of the city, McQuoids Hill and Urambi Hills Nature Reserves, Bullen Bullen, Rob Roy etc. And there are always a few areas along Boboyan Rd which may be missed. Anyone feeling venturesome might like to head to the high Brindabellas, where coverage is thinnish. And mid-city, no-one has put a hand up to survey the Australian National University grounds, usually quite a fertile birding site. The various coves and inlets around Lake Burley Griffin are still up for grabs, as is Red Hill and Mt Pleasant. Come on, birders! Join us for a weekend’s birding to try and get as complete a picture of the ACT avifauna as possible. Even if you are a last-minute starter, that’s fine.



Yes, it is on again, on the weekend of 25-26 October – COG’s annual effort to record over the last weekend in October all species of birds present in the ACT across as wide a variety of habitats as possible; and to record any breeding activity. All COG members are warmly encouraged to participate, so that we can cover as much of the ACT as possible. COG members are encouraged to “adopt” one or more locations or entire grid cells, and those already adopted will be shown on our website and updated from time to time. But don’t be perturbed if your favorite location has been taken – multiple surveyors per location are quite acceptable, though it would be good if you took on at least one unclaimed site as well. Think about giving an unknown area a try – it might prove exciting. In order to claim a grid cell, please put in your bid to Barbara Allan, the blitz organizer, on or phone her on 6254 6520.

List of sites to be claimed

If you are very familiar with a site and regularly survey there, or do BirdLife Australia-registered two hectare surveys there, you would probably be the best person to survey that site for the blitz if you can. But if last years’ sites were boring or unpleasant or bird-free zones, pick somewhere new this time. Or better still, do a 2-ha 20-min survey to “cover” the site, then move on to somewhere more interesting. If you are a beginner, probably the easiest way to participate is to do a survey in your local park – but remember only to record the birds whose identity you are absolutely sure of.  And if work or family commitments preclude you from doing much at all, be sure to try and do at least a 20-minute, 2-ha survey of your own backyard and environs, to support COG’s blitz.

As usual, depending on the weather and Namadgi National Park management, we hope to be able to conduct surveys beyond the locked gates in the Park. The organizer is looking for more 4WDs and competent drivers to tackle the fire trails. Please contact Barbara if you’d like to be involved and/or if you have room in your vehicle and are willing to take passengers.

All standard BirdLife Australia survey methods are acceptable – just indicate on the electronic or hard-copy datasheet which one you used:

  1. a 20-minute survey over 2 hectares (rectangle of 100 m x 200 m; or circle of radius 80 m)
  2. a survey within 500 m of a central spot, time unlimited but 20 mins or more
  3. a survey within 5 km of a central spot, time unlimited (though please stay within the one grid cell).

Remember to record the abundance of each bird species seen – e.g. 2 Laughing Kookaburra; plus any indication of breeding using the following codes: ih (inspecting hollow); co (copulating); nb (nest building); ny (nest with young); cf (carrying food); dy (dependent young). Only record species you are sure about. If you see a bird species on COG’s “unusuals” list, take a photo of it, if at all possible; take copious field notes of all the details you observe and any features you didn’t see; then submit a completed “unusual bird report form” (available on the COG website) with your hard-copy datasheet or email it to

Datasheets are available at COG meetings; from the organiser; or from the COG website under “forms” – the COG observation record sheet is the general-use form. You may also use COG’s electronic input option for your blitz records, using the standard ABA code not a specific blitz one. [This means that any ACT bird record entered over the blitz weekend will be treated as if it were a blitz record]. If you aren’t already a user of the online data entry system and would prefer to enter your blitz records this way, please contact Paul Fennell our database manager for details – or 6254 1804. If you use hard-copy datasheets, please mail them to COG blitz records, PO Box 301, Civic Square ACT 2608; deliver them to Barbara; or hand them in at the November COG meeting. If you use other electronic bird input systems, contact Barbara for advice on how to provide your data.

While most of us find the act of going out and recording birds rewarding enough in itself, it is good if we can offer modest incentives such as participation “lucky draw” prizes. If you are prepared to donate books, wine, DVDs, native plants or anything suitable as a blitz prize, the organizer would love to hear from you!

There will be regular blitz updates on the COG website, including lists of unloved sites awaiting adoption, so do check it out. And join us for a fun weekend of birding for a cause. Accounts of the outcome will be published in Gang-gang and Canberra Bird Notes in due course.

COG’s bird blitz 25-26 October 2014 – update 20 Oct 14

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