Do you live with brush turkeys digging in your garden, or cockatoos demanding food on the balcony? Why is it some birds adapt so easily to our built environment while others move away?
A new citizen science project hopes to answer this and other related questions, with particular focus on the larger birds we encounter in our cities.
The Big City Birds citizen science project focuses on five bird species in Australia that have successfully adapted to shifting environments by changing their behaviour: Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Australian Brush-turkey, Australian White Ibis, Little Corella, and Long-billed Corella.
The five focal species have all been observed adapting to human-modified areas and are increasing their population in urban areas. Occasionally they are considered a nuisance, yet they are all Australian native birds doing their best to survive in human-altered landscapes, and their whereabouts, behaviours, communal roosts, and nest sites are of interest to researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour, the National Australian University, and The University of Sydney.
The data collected through the Big City Birds app by – hopefully – many participants around the country will help the scientists understand these species’ behaviour, movement, reproduction, distribution, and habitat use in suburban areas.
If you would like to participate in the study, the app is available from the App Store or Google Play.