How to become a wren-watcher

We want to improve habitat for superb fairy-wrens in Royal Park. Become a wren-watcher to help us learn what we should change and how well it worked.

You can help by conducting a 15-minute ‘wren watch’ in one of 50 locations and reporting your sightings through the BioCollect app.

Download the full survey handbook, including printable survey sheet and site maps, below.

What do I do?

Just head to one of our pre-selected spots, stop and watch for a while, then tell us what you saw – It’s simple! You don’t need any special equipment, but binoculars or a phone capable of taking photos and zooming in will help identify leg bands on our banded birds. You can use the BioCollect app on your mobile device, or submit your sightings via the website when you get back home. Follow the steps below:

  1. Select a spot – Head to one of our designated wren-watching locations in Royal Park and surrounds. There are roughly 30 points to choose from. Notice a fairy wren somewhere else? No problems! You can drop a pin to create a new location within the app.
  2. Start your timer – Start your timer for 15 minutes.
  3. Start counting! – Record all superb fairy-wrens and any other small birds you see within that time. This is an ‘active search’ so feel free to look around in shrubs and undergrowth to try and spot our feathered friends. You don’t have to be an expert – just make the best notes that you can. If the site is crowded out by noisy miners, you can record that too.
  4. Leg bands? – If any of the birds you spotted had coloured leg bands, record this as well. We’re interested in the colours you saw and which leg they were on. Photos are really helpful for us to identify our tagged birds. We know the online form can be a bit complicated to fill out when there’s more than one banded bird, so feel free to add these to the ‘notes’ section instead if that’s simpler.
  5. Any other notes – The ‘notes’ section is a favourite of every field scientist! Feel free to jot down any other observations that you think are important. Was it pouring rain? Did you see something that really excited you? Here is the spot to let us know. You can also simply leave this blank.
  6. Submit your survey! Don’t forget to hit ‘submit’.

Where do I go?

We’ve picked roughly 30 spots in and around Royal Park that we’re most interested in. You might like to choose one one your usual walking route, or venture somewhere a little different! Once you’ve picked your spot, you can select it from the dropdown menu in the BioCollect app and complete your survey. You can see the full map below.

We’ve also created a selection of ‘walkable’ maps. These are collections of survey sites that are close to one another and don’t require crossing major roads, meaning you can visit a cluster of sites at once.

This map shows the standard survey areas that we would love you to visit! Find them in the Biocollect survey location drop down menu by scrolling to the correct number.

The old fashioned way

Some of us find it hard to enjoy birdwatching while staring into an app. We often find it easier to write down our observations on paper and then enter them online later (using one of the methods below). You can use a simple notebook to record the site number, date and time you started, and birds you saw. Or we’ve created a simple datasheet that you can download and print to use for all your visits.

Using BioCollect

You can download the BioCollect app to your mobile device, or record your wren-watch on paper and then enter it on your computer back at home. We’ll upload some short tutorial videos here soon.

Mobile app

  • Download BioCollect using your favourite method
  • It will prompt you to register/login if you haven’t before
  • Select ‘Projects’ and search for ‘Superb City Wrens’
  • To start a survey, select the orange + symbol in the top right-hand corner
  • Click on the ’15 minute Wren-Watch’ bar that appears
  • Fill out the form – add a ‘New row’ for each species you see. You can also add species to the ‘notes’ if this is too fiddly. As long as it gets recorded, we don’t mind!
  • Find the survey point using the map, or add your own location point using the ‘arrow’ button on the map
  • Don’t forget to hit the orange ‘submit’ button
  • You’re done! You can go about the rest of your day, or head to a new location and do it all again.


Head to the Superb City Wrens project on the BioCollect page clicking the button below

  • Select ‘Add a record’ to view the online data form
  • It will prompt you to login/register if you haven’t already done so
  • Follow the prompts to fill out the form
  • Add a ‘New row’ to the table for each of the species you saw
  • Don’t forget to hit the orange ‘submit’ button
  • Complete a separate form for each location you visited

You can learn more about BioCollect here