About the Atlas Database
The Atlas database consists of several components, most of which are openly available for download on this site. While we plan to release a data query tool that will allow data extraction based on customized criteria (e.g., species, year, square number, region, etc.), it is not expected to be ready until later in 2008. In the meantime, it is possible to download the complete individual data files in comma-delimited (.csv) text format or shapefiles using the data download page. Various types of summaries are also available and can easily be downloaded using the data summary page.
It is important to note that the datasets available on this web site do not include observations of non-breeding birds (records coded as X), or records not accepted by the Atlas Significant Species Committee. The decisions to exclude records was most often made on the basis of the probability (or lack thereof) that the species was breeding where it was reported according to the standard atlas guidelines and breeding evidence code definitions. All information available was used to inform those decisions (observation dates, habitat, behaviour, and other details reported by the atlassers).
It is also important to note that some species at risk records have been excluded from datasets that provide exact coordinates of individual sightings, including primarily the point count dataset and the Rare/Colonial forms. That decision was made in order to protect those rare species from excessive disturbance. Those records are however included in all datasets that report the information at the 10x10 km square level (breeding evidence tables). People interested in acquiring those records of species at risk must complete an application form and provide the rationale for accessing them. Those requests will be evaluated by an Atlas data release committee using guidelines provided by the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Center.
Breeding Evidence (second Ontario Atlas, 2001-2005)
Breeding Evidence (first Ontario Atlas, 1981-1985)
Point Counts (second Ontario Atlas, 2001-2005)
Point counts are a new addition to the second atlas, and are therefore only available for 2001-2005. Over 66,000 individual point counts were conducted throughout Ontario during the project. Each point count was 5 minutes long, during which the number of individuals of each species were counted separately within or beyond a 100m radius (unlimited distance). The data file available for unrestricted download does not include the records for the species listed in Table 1, but a summary of the number of records of each of those species within each square is available.
Rare/Colonial Species (second Ontario Atlas, 2001-2005)
The following datasets contain information on sensitive species and have restrictions, and their release must be approved by the Atlas data release committee.
The atlas grid (squares and blocks) are also available for download. The atlas grid for the first atlas was based on the NAD27 projection, and differed only very slightly from the NAD83 projection used for the second atlas (at most a few hundred meters). Only the grid from the second Atlas (NAD83) is provided here.
Additional data may be available upon request to Bird Studies Canada (scanned images of Rare/Colonial Species report forms, interpolated abundance maps, etc.).
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