Birds of Macedon Ranges

The Macedon Ranges has a diverse range of bird fauna from the abundant Australian Magpie to the rare Gang-gang Cockatoo. Each Spring, Council runs the Macedon Ranges Bird Blitz  but we like to promote birds and their habitat all year round. Birds are an essential part of the natural environment, and they also delight us in our backyards.

See below for more information on birds of the Macedon Ranges, including webinars, our Bird Guide and more.


The 5th Macedon Ranges Bird Blitz!

Council’s bird monitoring program involves 80 bird monitoring sites across our reserves and roadsides. We are so fortunate to have volunteers assisting us, as these surveys help us assess the health of our local environment, and we could not do these surveys without the community’s help!

Twenty birding volunteers have successfully monitored almost all 80 sites – with some highlights including many nesting birds, abundant Sacred Kingfishers and a White-winged Triller at Bald Hill Reserve. A detailed report will be available once all surveys are completed, and posted here. We would like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to all of our volunteers!

Enthusiastic birdwatchers attended the Birding for Beginners workshop on Sunday 15 October at the beautiful Woodend Five Mile Creek. To read more about it Click here for Birding for beginners report.(PDF, 496KB)

A series of Bird Walks for beginners ‘an hour along Jacksons Creek’ attracts 5-10 participants a month and is a great way to introduce people to the birds we share our lives with – magpies, herons, ducks and of course the smaller bush birds! These bird walks are ongoing – see here to book

A small but engaged group of birdwatchers attended the Bird Blitz Volunteer Workshop on Sunday 22 October 2023. The guest speaker was Dr Jess Lawton, Bird Monitoring Coordinator at Connecting Country who shared insights into the secrets of success for citizen science biodiversity monitoring. Click the link to see Bird Blitz for Volunteers report(PDF, 338KB).

All in all, this months’ Bird Blitz and Bird Month has had 64 participants – and that is not even including the Aussie Bird Count participants. We will have these final figures when we receive our Aussie Bird Count Report from BirdLife Australia! 


Previous years

Bird Blitz 2022

The Bird Blitz day scheduled for 16 October 2022 was cancelled due to severe weather and flooding – but the birds were still surveyed! Bird surveys were undertaken at 84 monitoring sites across the shire by 15 staff and volunteers. The event recorded 86 species with greater species diversity observed in the Mount William, Upper Coliban and Kyneton Biolinks, as shown in Figure 1 in the 2022 Bird Blitz Report.(PDF, 500KB)

  • The Grey Fantail and the Crimson Rosella were the two most observed species.
  • Surprisingly, the Yellow-faced Honeyeater was observed more frequently than Australian Magpie. 
  • A Peregrine Falcon was recorded at Red Gap Road in the Mount William biolink.

The outcomes of Council’s annual Bird Blitz will become more meaningful each year as annual data is able to be compared and trends are able to be observed.

2021 survey

On Saturday 23 October 2021, we coordinated 84 bird surveys across the shire as part of the annual Bird Blitz event.

Some notable findings were:

  • A pair of nesting Bassian Thrush were detected on Mount Macedon. This is the first every record of this species on the mount.
  • A rare, all-white (leucistic) Grey Currawong was spotted in Lancefield.
  • Satin Flycatchers were detected at several sites with few official records of this species prior to our surveys.
  • A Brown Quail was also recorded at Mount Gisborne with only 7 official records of this species in the shire

2020 survey

In the 2020 Macedon Ranges Bird Blitz, 94 species were recorded including five threatened species across twelve sites. The surveys recorded 2,575 individual bird observations. All records have been uploaded to the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas (VBA).

There were some interesting sightings including five threatened species, the first official record of Brush-Bronzewing Pigeons, and the occurrence of unusual visitors such as the Nankeen Night Heron and Scarlet Honeyeaters. Future surveys will help determine if these species represent a growing trend in bird movements or if these were isolated observations. 

For full survey details on our Bird Blitz, view our survey report for 2020(PDF, 2MB)

2019 survey 

On 19 October 2019, we hosted our inaugural Bird Blitz with 83 citizen scientists undertaking 58 bird surveys across the shire. In the days following, an additional 20 surveys were completed by Council, the Woodend Bird Observers Group and other community volunteers. A survey of 79 sites across the Macedon Ranges has revealed some exciting discoveries and rare bird species found within the region.

Significantly, the bird surveys recorded 2,769 new observations and a total of 97 different species. Five of the bird species are listed as threatened including White-bellied Sea Eagle, Pied Cormorant, Hardhead Duck, Brown Treecreeper and Black-chinned Honeyeaters.

Other interesting discoveries included White-winged Trillers, a rare visitor to the region, in large numbers across multiple sites around Kyneton and an unusual observation of a Western Gerygone was recorded in Barringo. 

For full survey details on our Bird Blitz, view our survey report for 2019(PDF, 3MB)

The 2019 survey was the first of its type in the Macedon Ranges and an important milestone in the implementation of our Biodiversity Strategy. All survey data and information will form a long-term dataset which will allow us to monitor landscape changes and threats to biodiversity.  

Aussie Bird Count

About the Aussie Bird Count

Make a difference for bird conservation by giving a moment of your time to count the birds that are counting on you. Participate in the Aussie Bird Count during Bird Week in October and use your observation skills for a 20-minute period to make a simple but important contribution to Birdlife Australia’s conservation initiatives. 

Each year people across the country head out to their front yards, backyards, courtyards, parks and play areas to count how many birds they see to provide a snapshot of Australia’s more common bird species. It’s a fun, simple and safe activity observing nature, which is proven to provide benefits to mental health and wellbeing.

Collecting this data at the same time each year allows us to look at the trends in our bird communities over time. Think of birds as a barometer for nature, as their health and wellbeing is one of nature’s best indicators. 

Download the Aussie Bird Count app and get involved or learn more at And join the flock for Australia’s largest citizen science project – the Aussie Bird Count. 

More bird resources

Birds of the Macedon Ranges Guide

We have created a guide to the most common birds that you will find in the Macedon Ranges.

The Birds of the Macedon Ranges Guide(PDF, 19MB) is available in digital form or can be picked up from one of our offices. 

Birds of the Macedon Ranges webinar

The webinar delves into the wonderful world of birds in the Macedon Ranges – and shows how our bird guide can be used to springboard your birdwatching journey. 

Rare Birds Webinar

On Threatened Species Day 7 September 2022, Tanya Loos, our Biodiversity Project Officer presented a one hour webinar introducing some of our beautiful and threatened birds of the Macedon Ranges. Featuring the Powerful Owl, Gang-gang Cockatoo and more, Tanya also talks about why we have threatened bird species, and acknowledges the Landcare groups and the Biolinks Alliance who are helping extend and protect habitat in our region.

Note: the presentation recording starts a couple of slides in, after an introduction, acknowledgement of Country and explanation of Threatened Species Day.

Creating a bird friendly garden

  • Use locally native plants – building a garden of local indigenous species ensures that you are catering for birds in the local region and supporting local plant genetics. Locally native plants are also easier to grow as the climate and soil conditions best support these species. See creating a bird friendly garden(PDF, 1MB) for a few locally native species to consider.
  • Supply a source of water – birds require a regular source of water. A bowl is sufficient for small birds. It is important to keep the water topped up as the birds will rely on it.
  • Provide leaf litter – rake leaves under trees and shrubs as this encourages insects and worms. It also provides an excellent source of nutrients for your plants.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals and pesticides – these can be harmful to birds and will lead to reduced diversity of insects which are a primary source of protein for birds.
  • Hollowed logs and fallen branches – loose timber provides shelter for small lizards and native mammals. Logs also provide birds with cover from predators and places to search for food.
  • Cats – keep your cat inside or consider an outdoor cat enclosure, particularly after dark. It is also advised to have a bell on your cat’s collar which can alert birds of their presence.

If you would like to find out more about local bird species, see our fact sheet Common Birds of the Macedon Ranges(PDF, 2MB)

Swooping birds

At certain times of the year, birds such as Magpies and Masked Lapwings (commonly called plovers) will swoop if they feel threatened. However, not all birds swoop to protect their eggs and young during breeding season, so don't be concerned because there are Magpies or other common swooping birds in the area. Visit Victoria's Swooping Bird Map to see locations where people were swooped. 

Common swooping birds are:

  • Australian Magpie - They breed from August to October and are very protective of their young. 
  • Magpie-lark - Swooping is less common and most swoops are only a bluff. They breed from January to December.
  • Laughing Kookaburra - During the breeding season from September to January, Kookaburras attack their reflection in windows. Feeding Kookaburras encourages this behaviour. 
  • Red Wattle Bird - Their breeding season is from July to December.
  • Grey Butcher bird - They breed from July to January and like the Australian Magpie, may swoop if they feel threatened.
  • Masked Lapwing - commonly called plovers, their breeding season is from July to November.

Indian Mynas

Indian Mynas present a threat to biodiversity, primary producers, and our urban landscapes and are increasing in numbers in many urban and rural areas.

The species was introduced to the Australian landscape to combat insect pests that were a problem in Queensland. It is now a common resident across eastern Australia and is very successful at competing with other species for food and nesting sites.

You can help prevent their spread and the problems they cause by recording siting's in your area with MynaScan, or getting involved in the Macedon Ranges Indian Myna Action Group.

The Macedon Ranges Indian Myna Action Group seeks to remove the introduced Indian Myna from the local environment. It operates with a team of coordinators that provide volunteer participants with specially designed Myna Traps. To find out how you can get involved to assist with the program, contact Ron Fink on email

Indian Myna Bird


The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (easily identified with their white body and yellow crest) is particularly prone to becoming a nuisance as a result of being fed by humans. It is natural for these birds to spend a large part of the day browsing for seeds, grass, plants, nuts and insects.

Cockatoos need to chew items to maintain their beaks at the correct length and condition. In the wild, they achieve this by chewing bark and branches in their roost trees. When people feed them, they tend to hang around that location. This can result in cockatoos chewing on fittings, outdoor furniture, or vegetation on neighbouring properties. Removing the food source may be enough to move them on to another area.

For more information, Wildlife Victoria have produced a detailed document, Guidelines for Reducing Cockatoo Damage - Wildlife Management Methods.

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo