Although the official date for the Big White Bird survey is on October 11th 2015 the organisers are happy to receive any information on Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Australian White Ibis now anywhere in Australia. They would like to know the numbers of these species around Australia on that date and surrounding dates. These species wander far and wide and with the addition of wing tags they have been able to confirm movements as far away as Papua New Guinea. If you should go to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney you will undoubtedly come across several birds wearing wing tags, because they are marked there. This does not mean they should not be recorded, because it shows the researchers that they have not gone anywhere and that is just as interesting as birds that have gone somewhere! The above photo is of a small group of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos in the Blue Mountains on a very cold morning at Blackheath and although none of them had wing tags they were still a lovely bird to encounter first thing. They were actually being very destructive and pulling up large areas of grass in the area near the playground.

Reporting the birds wearing wing tags has become easier over the years and most of it can be done on the spot with an “app”, or via Facebook, Twitter or a good old-fashioned email! The Facebook page is public, so you can look at it even if you are not on Facebook…like myself!

Some birds have been fitted with GPS tracking devices and move information on their movements will be discovered with this new modern technology. Information on the research is available on the Royal Botanic Garden website.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

One of the first Australian White Ibis that we discovered wearing a wing tag on a trip to Sydney was “green 040” and it was enjoying life at Centennial Park. Duncan has also encountered a tagged Australian White Ibis and he was lucky enough to see “green 001” at Centennial Park!

Australian White Ibis

Australian White Ibis-green 040

Although the Big White Bird survey is on 11th October, to maximise information on these two species of birds wearing tags, there is a survey that has just started in Sydney called the Spring Bird Survey. The Spring Bird Survey started in 2013 and runs from September 27th until October 24th this year. There is plenty of information on the website for anybody that will be in Sydney over the month and would like to contribute to the data on what birds live in the city of Sydney in 2015. They are also interested in any other native animals you may come across while you are out and about, so should you happen across a blue-tongue lizard they would like to know about it.

Blue-tongued Lizard

A local-(Broome)-Blue-tongue lizard

For those of you with children hoping to encourage them to spend time outside, but are struggling with leaving modern technology at home….there’s an “app” for that! Questagame  advertises itself as an “app” that “takes you outdoors-to your backyard, your neighbourhood, a park, anywhere at all-and sets you out on quests in the natural environment. Submit sightings, earn gold, conquer territory, compete with other players and more”.  Even better….just like the outdoors…it is FREE on the App store and Google Play!!

So, please help with the knowledge of what the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Australian White Ibis are up to in Australia by reporting them by one of the methods on this website! I am aware that the Australian White Ibis are probably scavenging around some rubbish, but nobody knows if they are a problem if they are not reported! Thanks!

Written by Clare M
Clare and her husband, Grant, have lived permanently in Broome, Western Australia since 1999 after living in various outback locations around Western Australia and Darwin. She has lived in the Middle East and the United States and traveled extensively in Europe. She monitors Pied Oystercatchers breeding along a 23km stretch of Broome's coastline by bicycle and on foot. She chooses not to participate in social media, but rather wander off into the bush for peace and tranquility. Thankfully she can write posts in advance and get away from technology!