Counting C Myna in GBS

To: "Paul T." <>
Subject: Counting C Myna in GBS
From: Duncan McCaskill <>
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 2013 22:25:17 +1000
You had it straight, but have been confused by this discussion.

There is no requirement that birds recorded in the GBS be "using" your garden (or more correctly, your 3.1 ha site that probably includes your garden) in any way. Apparently, the very first rules in 1981 did include a requirement that birds be "using" the site in some way, but as Philip wrote, that rule was explicitly removed in the 1993 version of the chart. Given the vagueness of what could be considered "using" a site, I doubt if anyone took much notice of the rule. (I don't know for sure. This was a very long time before my involvement with COG and the GBS.) 

Yes, GBS sites can and do include neighbouring bushland and other "non-garden" areas. There is no height limit. You can count birds flying over no matter how high. (A few weeks ago I recorded a Wedge-tailed Eagle flying so high it was invisible to the naked eye. I only saw it because I was watching some much lower Pelicans through binoculars.)

The issues originally raised in this email chain were about trapped and killed mynas. Yes, count mynas in your trap. As  Philip said, keeping the rules simple is important to avoid confusing people.

The only issue is to not count dead birds (like mynas killed in your trap) more than once - dead birds tend to stay dead and don't move on. A recently dead bird is strong evidence that it was recently alive in your site. So, for example, if you find a road kill Barn Owl in your GBS site count it - its very likely the only Barn Owl you'll see in the week. But if, say, you find a Noisy Miner that has killed itself flying into your lounge room window sometime while you were out, then don't add it to the count of other alive Noisy Miners that may be around -  since you don't know when it was alive. The GBS count is a count of the maximum number (alive) of birds seen during the week at the one time

Come to the next COG meeting on Wednesday June 12. You can sign up for the GBS and pick up a chart. I will be giving a short talk on the GBS which hopefully will make things clear.

Duncan McCaskill
Garden Bird Survey Coordinator.

On 4 June 2013 20:14, Paul T. <> wrote:
Howdy Folks,

I don't have a GBS, and by the sound of it I'm probably glad. <grin>  Far less questions this way.  However, I'm sure I've heard people talk about recording something on their GBS that has flown over.  Given Chris (below) says that "the count is about the birds that use your garden".... how is something flying over "using your garden"?  I had thought up until now was that the GBS count related to any bird seen within the boundaries of your GBS, including I think what we ended up terming a vertical cylinder above it of unspecified height.  So what is this about it being birds that use your garden?  Also, don't GBS cover bushland etc as well?  I thought I had it straight, but now I'm confused?


Paul T.
Higgins, ACT.

At 07:29 AM 4/06/2013, you wrote:
What happens if the bird never actually had time to use the garden but only died there ? and then where the gardens only use was to bury it there?. Its a tricky one to answer so over to you Philip.

From: Chris Davey <>
To: 'Sue Lashko' <>; 'Paul Fennell' <>; 'canberrabirds chatline' <>
Sent: Sunday, 2 June 2013 2:20 AM
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Counting C Myna in GBS

The count is about the birds that use your garden.  Birds can use a garden in all sorts of ways. If it happens to use it to die then it still gets counted.
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