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The birds are calling – here’s where you can find them

The birds are calling – here’s where you can find them

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Gold Coast has what takes to be a top birdwatching destination. This is what a few local nature and bird enthusiasts already knew when they got together to put together the “Bird Places of the Gold Coast” brochure. 

Best birdwatching spots on the Gold Coast

Half a dozen members of local community groups gathered at a café many times over the course of nearly a year to discuss the objective of the brochure. 

The result is a tool designed for tourists visiting the Gold Coast to find ideal and rewarding sites for birdwatching as well as a guide for locals to get out in their city and connect with our very special avian neighbours. We selected forty-six sites, from a pool of many more potential inclusions. 

We selected these based on the presence of special species of birds that visitors and locals alike would derive much joy from seeing, perhaps for the very first time, such as Variegated Fairy-wrens and White-bellied Sea-eagles (image above).

There are many species of birds on the Gold Coast that appeal to keen birdwatchers from abroad such as Albert’s Lyrebird (pictured below) and Regent Bowerbird (right image) and the reason for this can be explained by our location.

Perfect mixture of tropical and temperate climates

The Gold Coast is located at a crossover of two main climatic zones – tropical and temperate. 

This results in the sub-tropics region exhibiting bird assemblages that sample from both the north and the south. 

The sites described in the Bird Places of the Gold Coast brochure showcase the diverse habitats the climate lends itself to, including; eucalypt forest, rainforest, freshwater wetlands, and coastal wetlands.

Among the sites included in the brochure, it is tough to choose favourites. There is something for everyone at all sites. However, I can personally recommend a few that are guaranteed to deliver a very rewarding experience.

Federation Walk Coastal Reserve at the Spit

First up, Federation Walk Coastal Reserve at The Spit. This area is special because of the extensive revegetation works that have created valuable habitats attracting new birds to the area all of the time. Special birds to look out for include Superb Fairywrens, Rainbow Bee-eaters (pictured at the very top of the article), Double-barred Finches, Leaden Flycatchers and Tawny Grassbirds.


Secondly, a drive up to Springbrook will deliver some truly beautiful views of waterfalls and a multitude of rainforest birds. Wonga pigeons, Glossy Black-cockatoos and Grey Fantails, will make the drive worth the effort among myriad other species. 

Finally, another easy access urban park is Schuster Park in Tallebudgera is teaming with some water loving birds like Great Egret, Striated Heron and Sacred Kingfisher. Check the treetops for Spotted and Striated Pardalotes too!

Albert's Lyrebird

Birdwatching for beginners

But I have never been birdwatching I hear you say! Well, then it is time you discovered the pleasure this pastime can deliver. 

Birdwatching requires little equipment and thus little investment (unless you really get into it, and then the options are endless – trip to Costa Rica anyone?). All you really need to get going is some binoculars and a reference guide for local birds. 

You may have a pair of ‘bins’ floating around at home already. BirdLife Southern Queensland published a booklet that has great pictures of all of the birds of Southeast Queensland for a steal at $10 (contact me if you’re interested). 

The next thing you need is a little bit of time. Time to get out to at least one of the sites in the brochure to just relax and observe. Your aiming to increase your awareness. Listen past the Noisy Miners and Rainbow Lorikeets. 

I do love all birds, but a few species tend to dominate our sense. Once you tune out to those few species and listen and look a little harder, you will discover the remarkable diversity of birds we share the Gold Coast with.

Eastern Curlew

Contributing to bird conservation

Okay, so you have started watching birds. You are learning some of the local species of birds in your favourite birdwatching spot. 

Now, how do you ensure that those birds will be there for generations to come, also to watch and enjoy? Whether on public land (like the sites in the brochure) or private land (your house!), you can help contribute to the conservation of birds and their habitats in these areas. If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of, jump online and check out  or for how you can start counting birds and contributing to their conservation.

Additionally, you might like to join one or more of our Australian bird conservation organisations ( or By supporting them, you are adding your voice to the most reputable organisations advocating for nationally important bird conservation work.

Get out there and start exploring!

What are you waiting for? The birds are there! Get a copy of the Bird Places of the Gold Coast brochure and get out and explore our City’s amazing birds. 

You can get the brochure at numerous libraries across the city, Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, the tourists information desk at Harbour Town and many caravan parks around the Gold Coast. I hope to see you in your local patch in the near future. 

Download the brochure and get exploring!

Blog post and photos supplied by Rochelle Steven 

Committee Member of Friends of Federation Walk, BirdLife Southern Queensland and Research Officer and Ph.D. Candidate at Griffith University.

Listen here to her interview with ABC Radio