'Look to the Skies' event on Saturday 2 May

Image: Chris Farrell


It is with great sadness that BirdLife Australia and the Recovery Team announce that the Annual Cocky Count for the South-eastern Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo, planned to be held on Saturday 2 May, will not be proceeding as usual this year due to COVID-19 safety measures.

Initially we were hoping that the count would be able to proceed with protocols in place but to ensure the safety of our high-risk participants we have made the difficult decision to not go ahead with the usual count this year. 

However it is vital at this time of year that we count as many Red-tails as we can and try to find the location of large flocks, so instead of our usual count we will be running a ‘Look to the Skies’ event on Saturday 2 May where we are encouraging everyone in the Red-tail’s range to conduct the count from their own homes. 

Whether you have a small backyard or a large property we would love you to head outside on the 2 May in the morning and late afternoon and keep an eye out for any Red-tails. This does mean that only people who live in the Red-tail’s range can participate in the event, so we do apologise to those people who live elsewhere who will not be able to take part.

The Red-tail habitat covers an area ranging from Mount Gambier to Keith in SA, and Nelson to Little Desert in Victoria. All people living within this range are encouraged to search on the day and no prior bird survey experience is required.

If a participant is planning on taking part in the event they can let us know through phone or email, and we ask that if anyone sees any birds on the day to send in a sighting report. All sightings can be reported to the Project Coordinator on Free-call 1800 262 062 or via our website by clicking here or email Just include your name, time of sighting, how many Red-tails were seen and where (map reference is preferable) and what they were doing (i.e. feeding).

If anyone sees any cockies between now and the 2 May, we also encourage people to send in those sightings as well.

We are especially keen to try and get as many landholders involved as possible, as we are still hoping to conduct the annual flock counts which will help us gain an indication of breeding success in the population. To do this we need to know the location of as many large flocks as possible, especially where they come in to drink from stock troughs, dams, etc.  How the flock counts operate will be contingent on future announcements on the COVID-19 response

The Recovery Team has recently set up a Facebook page for the project. You can head to our page for updates about the project and we will be sending out reminders for our ‘Look to the Skies’ event.

We would like to say a very big thank you to those volunteers who had already registered their interest – this would have been the 24th year of counting cockies and we know there are many regular volunteers who have taken part for a number of those years. The Annual Cocky Count will be back again in full next year, and the following years, so there will be plenty of opportunities to take part in the future!

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