About NSW Bird Atlassers

Formed in 1981, the NSW Bird Atlassers Inc. (NSWBA) a non-aligned, volunteer-based, not-for-profit charitable organisation seeking to provide accurate long-term data about trends in the welfare of Australia’s native birds. The enduring aim is to protect and conserve Australian birds through better knowledge. Management of the NSWBA is undertaken by a voluntary committee of elected officials and our primary objectives focus on field studies (research) and conservation of the natural environment.

Membership of is open to any person or group with an interest in bird life in its natural habitat and who supports our aims. These are defined in our operating rules – you can read or download our Rules here:

The NSW Bird Atlasser’s Goal

To enhance the environment and, in particular to protect and preserve Australian birds in NSW and ACT, by mapping and monitoring, on an ongoing basis, each bird’s distribution and preferred habitats.

Our objectives to achieve this include –

  • To determine and then monitor on a continuing basis, the breeding and non-breeding distributions of all Australian birds known to occur in NSW and the ACT;

  • To establish and maintain a suitable database to contain records of birds reported in NSW and the ACT;

  • To promote the study and conservation of Australian birds, their habitats and enhance the natural environment generally; and

  • To publish and distribute magazines, brochures, pamphlets, periodicals, books or other material that promotes and furthers these objectives.

Our interest encompasses all of New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Lord Howe Island and the Tasman Sea east to Longitude 160º.  To date, we have gathered and stored sighting reports of birds within this region from over 1,500 volunteers with the NSW Bird Atlas database presently holding around 10 million records, including records dating back to 1770. The information has been extracted from Atlas sheets submitted by our members, plus data from other bird recording groups or details extracted from literature. It is the largest publicly accessible regional natural history database, both geographically and temporally. More than 573 species have been recorded in this area.

Monitoring is critical because, at any time, the breeding and non-breeding distributions of birds reflect on-going changes to our environment and, accordingly, are not static. Likewise, populations of individual species change for the same reasons. Some birds benefit from environmental change, most do not.

The data is referenced by Latitude and Longitude usually by 10 minute grids. From the data it is possible to see changes over time (see attached Maps for the Crested Pigeon (043) and for the Superb Parrot (277) which shows seasonal variation).

As an Atlasser you can combine enjoyment of your bird watching interest with opportunities to contribute to useful research in a co-ordinated way, thus playing a positive role in their welfare and conservation. More surveys increase our knowledge of which birds are using country, urban, suburban, town and bush areas. A large dataset is critical to providing a real-time picture of Australian bird populations and the trends in their wellbeing.

Membership is only $30 a year per family, group or individual (and is due on the 1st of January each year).  New Members receive –

  • an Atlas Kit providing a detailed guide on how to Atlas

  • informative quarterly newsletters

  • free Atlas Sheets

  • access to our Facebook page

  • access to free downloads from our website

  • Public Liability & Accident insurance cover for all NSWBA outings.

  • and you can attend all camps, field days and longer duration tag-a-long surveying tours.

Our membership includes people of all ages and levels of experience and, as an aid to your enjoyment of bird watching, and to help with your identification skills, our sub-branches conduct regular field trips: their programs are shown on our Sub-groups page. We also have biannual camp field survey trips: these are run as camp-based events over a number of days. Regular biannual camps are held during Spring & Summer every year. Tag-a-long survey trips are arranged from time-to-time to less well-covered parts of western NSW.

If you have particular interest in bird conservation and protecting of their environment, see our extended conservation section. We represent bird habitat needs through submissions to local, State or Federal Government agencies concerning conservation issues.

The NSW Bird Atlassers Inc has produced several interesting publications which are available to members at a discount. These include Field Identification Booklets, a Habitat Guide and a DVD on Wader Identification. “An Atlas of the birds of NSW & the ACT” is a dual winner of the prestigious Whitley Award.