Volunteering at the Department of Planning and Environment

STATE WIDE - Global Big Day Birdwatching Challenge

Are you a skilled birdwatcher? Join the NPWS Global Big Day birding team on 14 May 2022


On Saturday 14 May 2022, staff and volunteers from NPWS, Saving our Species, and the broader Environment and Heritage Group will be taking part in a world-wide birdwatching challenge - eBird's Global Big Day.

We are going to make a bold bid to be one of the top 20 "country" birding teams in the world by seeing as many bird species as we can in our national parks and reserves on Saturday, 14 May. We probably can’t take Team Colombia (after all, they do have nearly 2,000 bird species) but we can certainly showcase our birds (and our work) on the world stage.


Our keen volunteer birdwatchers are invited to join Team NSW's goal to reach a top 20 result and put NSW on the global map for birding.  We're aiming to spot as many bird species as possible in NSW national parks in a single 24-hour period.

Our bird list will be globally impressive – our parrot and honeyeater diversity is extraordinary, the Superb Lyrebird is a world famous mimic, we have a bird of paradise, a penguin, the world’s second largest flightless bird and of course, the endemic Rockwarbler.

We are going to need some keen birders if we are to see all of our rarest and most elusive birds on the same day!


Next steps – Before Saturday

This is an online citizen science project, so you will need to be able to register and upload your bird checklist at eBird.org or on its mobile app.

1. Apply to join the TeamNSW on VIP. Everyone will be accepted - you will simply need binoculars and/or a keen eye!

2. You can simply add your birds to the TeamNSW totals anonymously, however we would love to know how you did so we can thank you and publicize our volunteers' efforts. To let us know where you are going and what you spotted send your eBird username along with your real name to npws.volunteer@environment.nsw.gov.au so we can expect your list submissions on Global Big Day. And if you spot something special, please let us know so we can pass on to the comms team to highlight!

3. Create an eBird account and sign up here. Familiarise yourself with eBird – it has great resources.

4. Add NSWnationalparksteam as a contact under Manage my Contacts in your eBird account so you can share your checklists.

5. Download the eBird app. It makes it easy to submit lists in the field and you can learn how to report your sightings. It also records your location. You can install the NSW Australia pack in the app so that your mobile device has a local bird list ready for you especially before birding in remote areas or where you will be out of wifi/mobile range (e.g. Royal National Park!). Visit the eBird help centre for more information.

6. Create a checklist to record your bird sightings on 14 May 2022 using eBird Make sure to share what you find with ‘nswnationalparksteam’. Remember, only native birds spotted in our national parks and reserves will count!

7. Review the tips and guidance for ethical birdwatching on the Birdlife Australia website.


On and after Saturday

Watch birds on 14 May 2022: Global Big Day runs from midnight to midnight in your local time zone. We are only birding in national parks and reserves that are managed by NPWS and recording only sightings of native birds.


Use the eBird app or website to record your birds. Share your checklist with Team NSW National Parks - username: NSWnationalparksteam.  If you’re out of range and can’t share it on the day, don’t worry, you have up until 17 May 2022 to submit your results.


Log your hours in VIP.


Follow our progress:

•           Visit the Team NSW National Parks profile page once you've signed into your eBird account. We are team #89. So many interesting teams to read about!

•           Check out the Team NSW Global Big Day sightings report

•           If you're not taking part but would like to follow NSW National Parks, check Facebook or Instagram for updates.


About the Global Big Day

The Global Big Day is a huge citizen science event – last year, more than a billion bird records were logged by 51,000 participants across 192 countries. Incredibly, more than 7,200 bird species were observed.

“My dream is we get to 400 bird species, but a more realistic (but still stretch) target is probably in the 350 – 375 range... which would be an extraordinary outcome in 24 hours”, said Atticus Fleming, head of the Environment and Heritage Group.

This will showcase the incredible biodiversity in NSW’s 7.5 million hectares of protected area and will contribute to the collection of lots of great data. This data will feed directly into our conservation programs, including the Saving our Species program.

So – let’s put NSW on the global map by seeing as many birds as we can and, in doing so, showcase our Saving our Species program and other threatened species work, our national parks and our science credentials.

Our bird list will be globally impressive – our parrot and honeyeater diversity is extraordinary, the Superb Lyrebird is a world famous mimic, we have a bird of paradise, a penguin, the world’s second largest flightless bird and of course, the endemic Rockwarbler.

Over 100 teams have already signed up from a diverse range of countries including Brazil, Colombia, Madagascar, Sudan, Mongolia, Syria, Spain, Caribbean, Pacific island nations and many more - even Antarctica! It will take a huge effort if we are to make the top 20!

James Griffin, Minister for the Environment & Heritage, is on board and well-known bird nerd Chris Bath has signed up to give him some tips on the day, and to help promote our efforts. It promises to be an exciting event that showcases our amazing birds, our great national parks and the importance of programs like Saving our Species and environmental water.

Based on the level of interest to date, we are especially looking for interest from staff and volunteers who can get to parks and reserves in:

  • the West (eg Sturt, Mutawintji, Paroo-Darling, Kinchega, Mungo)
  • South Coast (eg Barren Grounds, Ben Boyd, Morton, Bungonia)
  • North-west Slopes and Tablelands (eg Kaputar, Nightcap, Guy Fawkes)
  • Hunter (eg Barrington Tops)
  • Central Mallee reserves (the Yathong, Round Hill, Nombinnie West group)


You are encouraged to take photos of you and your group on the and share those photos with digital.media@environment.nsw.gov.au. Note, by sharing your photos with use, you are providing permission for them to be used for public promotional materials (media, social media, etc). We are  opening the team to members of the public, If you know someone who may be interested, invite them to have a look at our National Parks Global Big Day website.


· Remember that parks are natural environments and can be unpredictable. Practice safe behaviour and look after yourselves and your party.

· Observe any park and road closures that are in place. Check alerts here https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/alerts/alerts-list. If travelling long distances, please consider sharing driving duties and taking regular breaks.

· Please obey traffic and road rules

· Follow any safety signage · Plan your trip in advance, and consider weather conditions before heading out

· Be mindful of trees and falling branches

· Do not enter private property, unless you are meant to be there.

Ethical birding guidelines

· Our aim to is promote the welfare of birds and their environment

· Consider the birds and put the health and wellbeing of birds first - consider the impact you as an individual and the group are having on birds and their environment

· Avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger

· Avoid handling birds

· Be aware of the impact photography can have on birds- avoid lingering around nests or core territories for long periods and limit the use of artificial light

· Avoid using methods such as flushing, spotlighting and call playback, particularly during nesting season when birds may be called off incubation duties, or even abandon the nest altogether

· Stay on roads, trails, and paths where they exist- avoid leaving litter along a birding trail and otherwise keep habitat disturbance to a minimum

· Lead by example– encourage others to employ ethical birding practices · For more information see the Birdlife Australia website.

Free entry to NSW national parks

As DPE/NPWS volunteers, participating in Global Big Day, you are eligible for a free promotional day entry to national parks on the day (if you do not have an annual pass).

In order to receive this free entry, please email the following details to npws.parkfees@environment.nsw.gov.au by 11 May 2022:

-  Name of volunteer program

· First name, Last name

· Email

· Phone number

· Vehicle registration,·Vehicle type (car, motorcycle, other),·State of vehicle rego.