Bird sightings

image - Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis © J. Norling

Documenting the distribution of birds is important from a number of perspectives. It allows the status of species to be monitored and alerts authorities to changes in populations. Sightings records also provide birders with information on where to see birds, rare birds or birds that are outside their normal range.

From the beginning of the Queensland Ornithological Society in 1969 - also known as Birds Queensland - sightings have been reported in a number of ways - in the newsletter, on a telephone hotline, in camp reports, in survey reports, in Sunbird and on the website. Records have also been kept on a number of databases.

A lot has changed since these reporting and recording arrangements were created and there are now online sites where such information can be found. Two important systems are:

  • eBird: an international, real-time, online checklist program, supported by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society, and many international partner conservation organizations. It allows Australian birders to be part of the larger global birding community. Birders are encouraged to upload and maintain their Australian bird lists on eBird. It is a great source of information on where to find birds or what birds might be expected at a particular site. To do this you need to register with eBird Australia and then login. Once registered you can post your lists from any country which is listed on the eBird global website.
  • Eremaea Birdline: run by Birdlife Australia and provides a means for reporting unusual and interesting observations. There are pages for all states and territories and a number of regions in Australia which are moderated locally. The sightings are usually displayed for the last 30 days. All birders are encouraged to use the system to report their unusual observations.

Birds Queensland is transferring historical lists to eBird. Birds Queensland still welcomes reports of unusual sighting or behavior but these will only be reported in our Newsletter. Please use the form on the Report your Sightings page to submit records.