IT'S a bird! It's a plane! No, it's definitely a bird ...
If you want to get your family all in a flutter about a fun outdoor activity, then pencil October 23-29 into your diary.
The Aussie Backyard Bird Count returns for another week of tallying our feathered friends and from personal experience I can highly recommend this as an entertaining and educational way to spend time with your children.
My daughter and I take our binoculars (she's still young enough to use hers backwards, but hey, it's the thought that counts) and head outside in the cool dawn every year for this popular pastime during Birdlife Australia's National Bird Week.
BirdLife Australia's key biodiversity area program manager, Dr Golo Maurer, agrees that the Aussie Backyard Bird Count is an ideal activity for families.
"Taking part in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count is fun for the whole family,” Dr Maurer says. "Kids are often the keenest observers of birds while parents and grandparents usually have the best stories about the birds.
"You'll be surprised by how many birds are living in your garden or favourite park. A warning though: Backyard Bird Counting can get competitive (kids, make sure you let mum and dad count the most birds at least once)!”
BirdLife Australia's Sean Dooley says the results provide a picture of how our birds are faring, both locally and across Australia.
"We are fortunate to have a wonderful array of birds in Australia, many that can't be found anywhere else in the world,” Mr Dooley says. "The information we collect from the Backyard Bird Count each year not only shows how much Australians care about birds, but also provides clues to what's happening with different bird species.”
Last year a record 61,000 bird-loving Australians took part to count more than 1.4 million birds.
So, how does it work?
There are two ways to take part in the Count:
1. You can submit your checklist through the online web form at www.aussiebirdcount.org.au, just click on Submit a Count, or
2. You can submit your checklists through the Aussie Bird Count app. If you want to download the app and you have an iPhone/iPad or Android, head to the Google Play or iTunes app store and download the app for free. The app also operates as a field-guide/bird finder all year round.