ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope

Raucous flocks of cockatoos, gleaning mobs of galahs, the plaintive creak of a roving Gang Gang – these are everyday Canberra experiences that remind us that we live in a city that sits within a unique natural environment.

There are over 700 species of birds in Australia and the Canberra Ornithologists Group (COG) Garden Bird Survey has recorded 228 species in and around Canberra gardens. This book is a guide to these species, their distribution and their abundance.

The high visibility of Canberra’s birdlife results in part from the design of the city’s suburbs, parks and open spaces.  Natural corridors and tree lined parkland provide birds with ready access to our suburban parks and gardens. From Mulligans Flat in the north to Tuggeranong Hill in the south, there are 30 nature parks, generally in close proximity to the suburbs. Many home gardens are ‘bird friendly’ habitats, providing shelter and food for a broad range of species. As well, an important aspect in Canberra is the widely distributed water quality ponds which provide a refuge for a wide range of water birds.

It is the responsibility of all Canberrans to ensure we preserve and strengthen this environment – so that it continues to nurture a robust birdlife and to enrich the lives of our own and future generations.

COG is contributing in many ways to this task. A major contribution is through its surveys of bird abundance and distribution – over many years at many different sites and habitats.  Information about the types of birds inhabiting an area can be an important indicator of the health of these habitats, and the health of the environment overall.

I am proud of my Government’s record in maintaining and improving

habitat for our local birds.  We have protected important bird habitat at Goorooyaroo, Callum Brae and central Molonglo; established the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary where the reintroduction of locally declining or extinct species will soon commence; and we have recognised the threat that cats pose to birdlife and acted to confine cats in suburbs adjoining Mulligan’s Flat and Goorooyaroo. The Government is currently working to ensure the habitat values of the Jerrabomberra Wetlands are strengthened and preserved.

Canberra’s street and park trees also provide important habitat for our birds. The Government has established an expert reference group to advise it on the renewal of our ageing urban forest. This work includes planning for a program and for tree species that will serve the long term needs of all Canberrans including our native wildlife.

This revised edition of Birds of Canberra Gardens provides a new opportunity for Canberrans to track the abundance and stability of our bird population. It is a wonderful example of how a group of skilled and dedicated volunteers can sustain a major survey for 27 years and draw together the resources to produce an accessible and informative reference on the birds of the Territory.

I share COG’s belief that a community that appreciates and understands its local birdlife is a community that is sensitive to the environment on which that birdlife depends.

As Canberrans we have access to some of the highest quality natural environments in the country. The opportunities to enjoy our local birdlife are unique and diverse. Use this book to get out there and enjoy our local birdlife. Use it to find out about the birds you see and to find the birds that you want to see.


Jon Stanhope MLA

Chief Minister of the ACT

October 2009