Monitoring and Data Collection

This is the bit where you go out in to the field and collect the information. This could include listening for birds, setting up camera traps, or identifying some cool plants that you see.

Some of the main ways to monitor and collect data are through observation, camera trapping, sound recorders, and by logging information through networks such as iNaturalist.

There's a lot that you can find with just your eyes and your ears. Even a seemingly boring patch of bush can be full of life!



Mammals leave a lot of traces behind that you can pick up on. Keep your eyes out for some of the following:

  • Scats - you can use a Poo Flip to help you identify them
  • Tracks
  • Tunnels 
  • Diggings - animals such as bandicoots have really distinctive, cone-shaped- diggings
  • Bones and carcasses
  • Scratch marks on tree trunks - often indicate possums or roosting birds when the marks are around hollows

Keep in mind that many of these methods have their limitations - for example, a bandicoot digging can tell you that a bandicoot has been active in the area, but it won't tell you what species. Combining different identification (ID) methods is a good idea where possible, or following up with spotlighting or setting up a remote camera.


  • PooFlip
  • The Guide to Tasmanian Wildlife, Book by Angus McNab
  • apps (e.g. Field Guide to Tasmanian Fauna)

For the full a list of other resources, go to our Resources webpage


Birds can be monitored by sight and by sound, but are often easier to hear. 

Monitoring birds by observation can be done in two main ways:

  1. Opportunistically (e.g. if you see a bird whilst out on a walk)
  2. With structure (e.g. sitting in the bush for a set period of time with the intention to record all the birds you hear during that period)

Both are very valuable ways of collecting data, however if you do it with structure, there is much more information that you can obtain.

If you observe a bird opportunistically, you only know that that bird was there at that specific point in time (which can be really important to know, especially for threatened species!). However, it doesn't tell you how common that bird is, or what time of the year that bird is there, for example. By observing with structure, you can answer those sorts of questions.

How to monitor with structure:

One way to do it is like this:

  1. Find an area where you want to try and monitor birds
  2. Get comfortable, and stay there for a set period of time. This could be 5min, half an hour, or even longer
  3. In that time period, record all the different bird species that you see and/or hear, and how often. Make a note of whether you saw or heard them
  4. Once the time is up, tally your bird count.
  5. You can go somewhere else, or come back at a set interval (e.g. once every two months)


Birds and their calls can be hard to identify, but thankfully there are lots of good resources out there! Here is a list of some of them:

  • apps (Bird in the Hand, Michael Morcombe's 'Birds of Australia')
  • books (The Guide to Tasmanian Wildlife, Book by Angus McNab)
  • cd's (Australian Bird Calls Tasmania)

For the full a list of other resources, go to our Resources webpage

Camera Trapping


Camera trapping involves setting up a specialised motion-sensor camera to capture images of wildlife in the area. You can capture photos and videos, both during the day and at night time.

Full instructions on how to set up a camera trap correctly can be found in this document.

You can borrow or buy wildlife monitoring cameras from Landcare Tasmania. Get in touch with us via:

Phone: 6234 7117, Email: [email protected]

Bird Recorders

Bird recorders are like a microphone with a memory card. You can set them up to record for a period of time, and then listen back to what calls it picked up.

Full instructions on how to set up a camera trap correctly can be found in this document.


iNaturalist is an online social network for logging and sharing data about the natural environment. You can use it to record observations and to get help identifying what you see, from a wide community of iNaturalist users. It is most commonly used as a phone app.

To read more about it and how to use it, skip to this section.

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