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Ontario Nest Record Scheme

The Ontario Nest Records Scheme (ONRS) provides a valuable means of tracking the health of Ontario's bird populations through maintaining detailed records of their nesting success and distribution. Details of each occupied bird's nest found are recorded on cards or directly into an electronic data base. The majority of cards are submitted by volunteers who simply enjoying finding and watching bird's nests, though many records are also provided by professional researchers.

These data, especially from nests that have been visited multiple times, have tremendous potential for monitoring the health of bird populations in Ontario and the impact of human activities on birds. Potential use of the data include:

  • monitoring clutch size, hatching success, fledging success, predation rates, and other factors over time, to determine whether sufficient young are being produced to maintain healthy populations;
  • providing information on egg laying dates to help identify safe periods for management activities such as harvesting hay or timber;
  • documenting the effects of climate change on breeding birds (e.g., changes in nesting dates, nesting success, or distribution);
  • evaluating the impact of Brown-headed Cowbirds and various predators on nesting success of songbirds;
  • documenting basic breeding biology such as nesting habitat, nest site selection, incubation period, renesting, additional broods, etc.;
  • documenting the breeding distribution of each species in Ontario.

The Nest Records Scheme needs your help to achieve these goals. Simply by sending in Nest Record Cards you can help the ONRS to understand better the breeding biology and population health of Ontario's birds.

For details on how to participate, view or download a copy of the instruction manual.

For further information, or to obtain a supply of nest records cards for reporting your nest observations, please contact the scheme coordinator, George Peck