THE Bathurst Backyard Bird Count program that was run in 2017 has found that native species are being replaced by introduced or feral birds.
Meanwhile, smaller natives are bring replaced by larger, more aggressive native species.
According to BirdLife Australia, the decline of native birds is due to the continued loss of native vegetation in the urban, suburban and rural landscapes and an increase in simplified plantings of exotic species.
In his report to Bathurst Regional Council, director of Environmental Planning and Building Services, Neil Southorn, encouraged council to consider opportunities to increase native plantings in urban and suburban areas to help improve the situation.
“If current trends continue, the Bathurst region will be dominated by introduced species of a handful of adaptable and aggressive native species,” he said.
Council has participated in and promoted the bird count program since 2015, as part of the broader Aussie Backyard Bird Count run by BirdLife Australia.
The program aims to create citizen scientists, who help to collect data for BirdLife Australia and increase the understanding of Australian bird species that live around humans.
As BirdLife Australia collects so much data from the program, it was only recently that Bathurst data became available to council.
During the 2017 program, which ran between October 23 and 29, there were 10,575 birds recorded during the week thanks to the efforts of 218 participants.
The number of birds recorded was an increase of 3149 from the previous year.
There were 158 different specified identified during the program, with three of the top 10 most common species observed being ones that were introduced.
The most common was the House Sparrow.
There were also 13 threatened species recorded.
Councillor Monica Morse said the data and Mr Southorn’s report was something to be proud of and showed “a lot of work by a lot of volunteers”.
“This is one of the best news we’ve had at council in a long time. It was an amazing number of people who took part, an amazing number of birds that were identified. It was quite extraordinary,” she said.