Margaret Atwood & Graeme Gibson
Joint Honorary Presidents of BirdLife International's Rare Bird Club
The Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario (2001-2005) is a monumental achievement. Not only is it a stirring
example of co-operative research - the field work alone entailed over 150,000 hours logged by more than 3000
volunteers - but the detailed results of that research have been presented with a remarkable clarity and style.
Invaluable for the thoroughness of its science, the Atlas is also a wonderful book to simply browse. The species
accounts are clean, jargon-free, and inviting; the graphics contain a wealth of visual information; and the text is
profusely illustrated with photographs of the birds, and frequently their nests and/or typical habitats.
This book is a must for everyone interested in birds, Ontario, and the natural world.
Chandler S. Robbins
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
(excerpt from Ontario Birds, in press)
Excerpt from a book review published in Ontario Birds: This book will surely serve as a model for
other atlas projects worldwide, as it shows how the raw data from atlas projects can be refined in various
ways to make them more useful for conservation planning. It is a classic in several respects. It represents a
unique collaboration between national, provincial, and non-governmental organizations; a Herculean effort to
sample the huge roadless areas of northern Ontario; use of five-minute point counts adjusted for time of day to
estimate relative abundance throughout the province; and use of kriging to interpolate abundance from the 24 nearest
neighbors to each target cell for abundance mapping. As a salute to the environment, the paper on which the book
is printed was harvested from responsibly managed forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, and net
profits from the book will be used for bird conservation projects in Ontario.
I find the new Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario amazing and am delighted by its beauty and detail.
The photographs of the birds are excellent and the graphic work is clear and absorbing. To view the book will be
a joy for any birder but beyond that anyone who cares about our environment will find the data thought-provoking.
The dark dots that indicate breeding in the first atlas but not breeding at present should be disturbing in many cases.
What is happening to eliminate these birds from those areas? I would hope that this book was widely read beyond
the birding community. It will stimulate interest in these valuable and fascinating creatures and it might help
to guide environmental policies for the future.
Boreal Songbird Initiative
After eagerly awaiting the arrival of my copy of the "Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario 2001-2005"
for a few weeks, I was excited to find it sitting on my doorstep yesterday afternoon. From the stunning cover
photograph of Prairie Warbler to the extensive content inside, the book quickly proved that it was well worth
the wait. In fact, I think this new Ontario Atlas is the finest breeding bird atlas that I have ever seen.
Conservation Science, Policy & Planning
World Wildlife Fund Canada
The "Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario" is wonderful, from cover to cover. Like many atlassers, I had
been eagerly anticipating it, and while I had a sense from the first atlas and the website what to expect, the
final result is simply outstanding. The more I refer to it, the more engaging and useful I'm finding it.
The introductory text is comprehensive, thoughtful and instructive. The pictures are a refreshing view of many
species and each map provides a picture that quickly conveys more than just the sum of our square by square efforts.
The dot colours in the maps work beautifully, and the methods of showing whether or not breeding evidence was found
in the first versus the second atlas are clever and so very helpful. The listing of all atlassers along with their
helpers seems to be me a great tribute to all who volunteered to make the project a success. The sponsors are nicely
acknowledged also — as a group, they comprise a strong and varied team. The fact that the Atlas was printed on FSC
paper is further evidence of the commitment of the project to conservation.
The Atlas is a testament to the patience and work of many people over many years. Congratulations to all who have
invested so much time and talent to this important research and conservation initiative.