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Surveys and bird counts

The Great Glossy Count

  • Date Saturday, 7 September 2024 - Sunday, 8 September 2024
  • Locations South-eastern Queensland, eastern NSW, ACT, eastern Victoria

What is the Great Glossy Count?

The Great Glossy Count is a citizen science event that collects data across the distribution of the South-eastern Glossy Black-Cockatoo (also known as ‘Glossies’). Participant citizen scientists spend one hour (or more) at any time during the Count weekend exploring their selected survey site to collect data on Glossies and their feeding habitat. Citizen scientists can join the Count as a group or bring a friend along for a great opportunity to enjoy time in nature while supporting the recovery of threatened birds.

Data collected during the Count will support vital bushfire recovery and conservation work for Glossies by informing actions to manage their habitat.

Where can I take part in the Count?

The Great Glossy Count takes place across south-eastern Queensland, eastern NSW, the ACT and eastern Victoria. See below for a full South-eastern Glossy Black-Cockatoo distribution map.

Click to enlarge map

When can I take part in the Count?

You can take part any time between sunrise and sunset on either Saturday or Sunday (or both days).

We suggest you spend at least one hour (ideally a few) at your survey site. We encourage you to spend as much time as you can exploring your survey site and Glossy habitat; the more comprehensively you can cover your survey site, the better.

Registrations for the Great Glossy Count open on Wednesday 31 July, 2024


The Great Glossy Count Frequently Asked Questions

Read our FAQs for the Great Glossy Count for answers to commonly asked questions about who can take part, survey sites and identification of birds and their feed trees.

About the Great Glossy Count

Who can take part?

Anyone who can safely collect data at their selected survey site(s) for one hour (or more) on one or both days of the Count can take part. BirdLife Australia will provide training materials and instructions to teach volunteers how to identify Glossies and she-oak trees, and guidance on how to collect data safely.

How long do I need to collect data for?

We ask volunteers to spend at least one-hour collecting data at their survey site, though you can collect data for as long as you like.

What is a survey site?

Within the distribution of the South-eastern Glossy Black-Cockatoo, survey sites comprise 1 km2 areas (1km x 1km) which support suitable habitat (that is, typically in forested areas with an abundance of she-oaks), or where Glossies have been recorded previously.

Volunteers can choose to collect data at a survey site identified by experts from BirdLife Australia, or select their own survey site if they are aware of other locations which have evidence of Glossies being present.

Can I collect data outside the Count weekend?

Yes. Data collected outside of 7–8 September 2024 is valuable, but will not be included in the ‘Great Glossy Count’ dataset.

You can record Glossy Black-Cockatoos and she-oaks in the Birdata app or on the Birdata website at any time, using the ‘SE Glossy Black-Cockatoo’ program in Birdata.

Can I collect data as part of a group?

Yes, we encourage volunteers to take part in the Count with a friend or in a group.

The first person to book a particular survey site will receive a booking code that can be shared with others, so that the others can join the booking. All group members must register for the Count and pass the Glossy quiz in Birdata to participate in the Count.

How can I learn to identify and record data on Glossies and their feed trees?

Watch the training video below

  • Receive the South-eastern Glossy Black-Cockatoo Field Guide upon registering to take part
  • Attend a workshop (details will be provided closer to the time of the Count)
Registering for the event and booking a site

How do I register for the Count?

To take part, you will need to book a survey site to collect data at after registering. Registrations and survey site bookings will close at 6pm on the last day of the Count (Sunday 8 September 2024). This means you can register and book a survey site on the weekend of the Count itself.

Why am I getting an error message when I try to register?

Please make sure you are registering via the correct link. If you are already logged into Birdata, the correct link should take you directly to register and manage your booking.

Is there a guide on how to register and book a site?

Yes! Find it here: How to register and book a site in Birdata.

I have registered for the Count, what should I do next?

First, learn how to identify and record data on Glossies using our resources. Second, pass the Glossy quiz and then book your survey site(s) in Birdata. Glossy resources available here. 

Can I cancel my registration or change my survey booking(s)?

You can cancel your registration or change/book additional survey sites at any time. You can see which sites are still available to survey right up until the end of the Count. This means you can make changes or book additional sites on the day if you find yourself with some extra time (or need to cancel at the last minute).

How many survey sites can I book?

You can book up to four survey sites per day. Please contact us at glossybc@birdlife.org.au if you wish to book more than four survey sites.

On the day of the Count

What should I bring and what should I do when I arrive at my data collection site?

Please see our guide: How to participate in a Glossy Count.

How long do I need to spend collecting data for the Count?

We suggest you spend at least one hour (ideally a few) at your survey site. We encourage you to spend as much time as you can exploring your survey site and Glossy habitat; the more comprehensively you can cover your survey site, the better.

What time should I collect data during the Count?

You can collect data at any time after sunrise and before sunset. Some people like to go in the morning and afternoon when the birds are most active, and some collect data at multiple sites. See our guide: How to participate in a Glossy count.

How do I record Glossies or feed trees?

  • Record your data in the Birdata app, or onto a printed data collection sheet so you can enter it into the Birdata website later.
  • Use the South eastern Glossy Black-Cockatoo Field Guide to help you identify the sex and age of the bird, and the species of feed tree.
  • Take a photo or video if you can; this may help confirm identification details later.
  • Please do not purposefully disturb Glossies to get a good photo or identification.
  • See our guide: How to participate in a Glossy count.

What should I do if I am unsure whether my bird is a Glossy Black-Cockatoo?

Please record this; the absence of birds and their feed trees are valuable data. You can watch our video guide on how to record your data in Birdata (including ‘zero’ data), or view our guide: How to participate in a Glossy Count.

What if I suspect the same individual bird has re-appeared in my site?

If possible, take a photo or video of any birds you see. Birdata allows you to upload photos, so the Glossy Project team can help you verify your sighting. Refer to the South-eastern Glossy Black-Cockatoo Field Guide and training videos to do your best to identify the bird. If you are unsure, choose ‘unsure’ or write this in the ‘Comments’ section.

What if I can’t connect to the internet from my site?

You can use the Birdata app without an internet connection. Data will be uploaded once your internet connection is re-established. If your map doesn’t load properly (e.g., the map shows up as white), don’t panic as the GPS location will still be recorded. You can click your location and check the grid cell name to confirm you are in the correct grid cell. If you cannot use Birdata on your device, you can print data collection sheets available here.


Support the recovery of Glossy Black-Cockatoos by joining the Great Glossy Count

The South-eastern Glossy Black-Cockatoo was recently listed as ‘Vulnerable’ under Australian legislation and is at risk of further population decline after losing large areas of feeding habitat in the bushfires of 2019–20.

Glossies feed almost exclusively by taking the seeds from the cones of she-oak trees (Allocasuarina and Casuarina). These trees must be protected to maintain a food source for populations of Glossies, thereby reducing the impacts of bushfires and other threats.

Data about Glossies and their feeding habitats are vital for planning bushfire recovery and conservation action. Citizen scientists who join the Great Glossy Count collect data to identify Glossy feeding habitats, so it can be protected and restored.

Event documents and resources

You can also view all 5 of these documents in this folder.