About 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.

Club History and Aims

The NSW Bird Atlassers (NSWBA) was established in 1982 as an independent, volunteer-based, non-profit group with the joint aims of monitoring the distribution of birds in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, preserving habitats, providing a proper basis for environmental impact studies and for other ornithological reference purposes.

These aims enable the NSWBA to address key issues in the status of birds within the defined area of study, to identify changes in bird populations, and to disseminate information about birds and their conservation whilst encouraging a wider appreciation of birds in the community.

The defined region of study is NSW (including Lord Howe Island and the Tasman Sea from the NSW coast to 200km offshore, the ACT, and Elizabeth and Middleton Reef Marine National Nature Reserve). There is a paucity of published information about bird distribution (especially geographic forms) as well as seasonal occurrence, habitat preferences, and present and historical status. The NSWBA seeks to provide a better understanding of these important aspects of our birdlife.

The NSWBA publishes a quarterly newsletter, produces identification guides and gridded maps of NSW. It conducts regular field trips and other survey activities throughout NSW. Inexperienced bird watchers are particularly welcome on these field trips, as they provide a wonderful opportunity to mix with experienced bird watchers and develop identification skills.

The NSWBA also produces books about birds, their distribution and habitats in NSW/ACT. Major publications are a 240 page book “The Birds of Western NSW: A Preliminary Atlas” 1995 (now out of print); “the NSWBA list of the birds of NSW (including Lord Howe Island) and the ACT”; “An Ornithological Gazetteer of NSW, the ACT and adjacent waters”; and an outstanding full-colour book “A Guide to Bird Habitats in NSW” was published in 1999. Volumes 1 and 2 of the “Atlas of the Birds of NSW & ACT” are available. A third and final volume is planned.

Membership of the NSWBA is open to anyone interested in birds, their habitats and their conservation.


To achieve the aim of monitoring the distribution of birds in NSW and neighbouring waters and the ACT, the NSWBA established and continues to maintain a comprehensive and up-to-date database on the breeding and non-breeding distribution of all birds within the defined areas. Although distribution is a key ecological parameter, in the case of birds this is often determined by the relationship existing between birds and their preferred habitats. The NSWBA database attempts to define this link of bird distribution and habitat preferences.


The NSWBA database contains in excess of 6 million records – this information has been extracted from Atlas sheets submitted by our members, plus data from other bird watching group or details extracted from the literature, these sightings date back to 1770.

These records are an invaluable asset in the preservation of Australian birds and their habitats.

Other sources of data exist in our dataset but we only provide information based on data collected  by our members and data from the other sources should be accessed through those organisations.

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).