Monthly Challenge

We’re pleased to announce that the Atlas will be running a monthly challenge to help encourage atlassers in their work and thank them for their efforts. Each month, a bird-related prize sponsored by Wild Birds Unlimited, will be sent to a lucky atlasser who met that month’s challenge. We’ll be laying out the challenge and the prize in the week ahead of the target month.

July 2022 Challenge:

Challenge time! There’s nothing quite like hearing elusive marshbirds in the early morning or late afternoon. Complete a marshbird survey by July 10th or 17th (based on your region – see instructions), and submit your data by July 31st, 2022, for a chance to win an Atlas-3 hat to protect you from the summer sun!

Past Challenges:

June 2022

Near the end of June, the Ontario Atlas will be collaborating with other provinces and states for the annual Big Atlas Weekend – a joint event for Atlases being run in Ontario, Newfoundland, New York, Maine, Maryland and DC, and North Carolina! Go atlasing between 6:00 pm EDT Friday, June 24 and 11:59 pm EDT Sunday, June 26 and submit your checklist* through NatureCounts to be entered to win a Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Academy course of your choosing.

May 2022

Spring has sprung and peak atlassing season is just around the corner: May 24 for the south and June 1 for the North! For the May challenge, add 25 new species (with breeding evidence) to a square for a chance to win The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors. Make sure you’re familiar with the Safe Dates when atlassing in the shoulder season!

April 2022

It’s time for the April challenge🏆! Spring is in the air, the birds are pouring back in and nesting behaviour is starting! It’s time to start preparing for the coming season and connect with fellow atlassers! For this month’s challenge, atlassers who have signed up for the new Atlas-3 Discord Discussion Group by April 30th will have a chance to win a Vortex Harness Strap. Discord will be the ideal place to learn and get answers to all your atlassing questions. Learn how to register for Discord by visiting: www.birdsontario.org/discussion/

March 2022

Challenge time! Owls are fascinating but they represent a special challenge to monitor; they are secretive, they breed early in the year, and they often roost in concealed locations. For this month’s challenge, complete at least one Eastern Screech-Owl Atlas Survey or one Northern Hawk Owl Atlas Survey. Each survey submitted before March 31st will give you a chance to win a lens cleaning kit (which we all might need about now!), while providing valuable data on the distribution and abundance of these owls. View the protocols and watch a recent Sappy Hour on completing the owl surveys. Contact your RC prior to completing the survey to discuss survey location!

February 2022

Challenge time! Owls are fascinating but they represent a special challenge to monitor; they are secretive, they breed early in the year, and they often roost in concealed locations. For this month’s challenge, complete at least one Eastern Screech-Owl Atlas Survey or one Northern Hawk Owl Atlas Survey. Each survey submitted before March 31st will give you a chance to win a lens cleaning kit (which we all might need about now!), while providing valuable data on the distribution and abundance of these owls. View the protocols and watch a recent Sappy Hour on completing the owl surveys. Contact your RC prior to completing the survey to discuss survey location!

January 2022

Challenge time – lightning round! Winter is a great opportunity to learn identification – of nests! With less leaves on the trees, many old nests are more visible which provides a chance to study them up close. By January 31st, submit 5 checklists using the NU breeding code for a chance to win the shiny new Peterson Field Guide to North American Bird Nests! Visit https://youtu.be/rHi9z8_rAJY and 

BirdsOntario.org/breeding-codes/ to learn more about nest searching and breeding evidence codes.

December 2021

Reading a book while wrapped in a blanket is becoming more tempting as the nights get colder. This month, submit 5 checklists recorded at night for a chance to win a copy of the Atlas 1 & 2 books. No special protocol is needed. Take some time to get familiar with the sounds of the night, and see what you can hear! Submit all checklists by December 31, 2021. Happy h-owl-idays!

November 2021

Sit quietly and immerse yourself in the sounds of northern Ontario’s boreal forest while practicing your song ID skills for the next atlassing season. Which species can you hear? Identify at least 5 different species of birds present in this 3-minute recording from Fushimi Lake Provincial Park in Atlas region 42. Send us the list by November 30th for a chance to win artwork by Kingsville-based wildlife artist Leon Barlow (5 cards and 1 print). If you enjoy this challenge, consider atlassing in northern Ontario during the next breeding season to collect valuable data to help us learn more about breeding boreal birds! Submit entries here: https://tinyurl.com/9jxtrnsc

October 2021

Challenge time! With trees changing their appearance outside, we invite you to share a story of ‘birds in disguise’; an accidental misidentification, a perfectly placed sunbeam on plumage disguising it as a mega rarity, a Field Sparrow singing a Hooded Warbler song? Submit your story and/or photo using the submission form by October 31, 2021, for a chance to win a winter roost box. We’re starting to bundle up with the cooler weather, and birds could use a safe, warm space to roost too. Good luck!

September 2021

As the breeding season comes to a close and fall migration continues, we want to hear from you! Share a story of your best Atlas adventure so far by September 30. Submit using the submission form, and feel free to share on social media, for a chance to win Birds And Beans Coffee and a mug, so you can be sure that your coffee grounds are helping protect habitat on the overwintering grounds.

August 2021

Challenge time! Many bird species will be preparing to make their long, dangerous journey back to their overwintering grounds soon. This includes many juvenile birds that were born during the Peak Period of the season! For this month’s challenge, be sure to enter all of your Atlas data by the end of August! Participants who have submitted at least 50 hours of Atlas data collected during the Peak Period (May 24 – July 10 in the South, and June 1 – July 10 in the North) will have a chance to win a pack of Feather Friendly Window Collision Tape to reduce the impact of window collisions on migratory birds.

July 2021

This July, why not enjoy a quiet summer evening under the stars while listening for the unique sound of nightjars? Complete a Nightjar survey before July 15th and enter your results in NatureCounts before July 31st for a chance to win a tote bag to carry all of your birding gear!

June 2021

For the June challenge, submit 10 complete checklists with breeding evidence for at least 20 species by the end of June to have a chance to be one of TWO winners to receive a copy of the ‘Best Places to Bird in Ontario’. Learn about documenting breeding evidence in Appendix G

May 2021

May is here, and that means the return of warbler neck! Give your neck a reprieve from carrying your binoculars, by winning this month’s challenge – a Vortex binocular harness strap. Submit ten complete checklists by the end of May, with coordinates for at least one species for a chance to win. Learn how to submit data here: https://www.birdsontario.org/instructions/

April 2021

Challenge time! April showers makes for a great opportunity to study indoors, which is why this month’s prize of Chris Earley’s guides to warblers and sparrows/finches are up for grabs! Registered Atlassers can submit 1 checklist by the end of April, which includes a significant species with proper documentation for a chance to win these guides. Find out which species are significant, by looking at the square summary sheets for your square(s). Learn more here: https://www.birdsontario.org/wp-content/uploads/Appendix-K-Significant-Species.pdf

March 2021

The challenge for March 2021 is to submit checklists that include the breeding evidence code ‘T’ (Presumed Territory) or higher for any species from the safety of your backyard or neighbourhood. You’ll find the breeding evidence codes here. This month’s prize will be a Chickadee/Wren nesting box! The winner will be randomly drawn on April 1 from among those who have both registered for the Atlas and submitted checklists before the end of March! Good luck!

February 2021

The challenge for February 2021 is a fun opportunity for you to test your atlassing knowledge by completing a short multiple choice quiz. This month’s prize will be a seventh edition Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America. The winner will be randomly drawn on Monday March 1 from among those who have both registered for the Atlas and completed the quiz before the end of February, and the prize will be sent out right away! Have fun and good luck!

January 2021

The challenge for January 2021 is an easy one. All you have to do to become eligible for the prize is to register as an Atlas participant. The month’s prize will be two autographed photographic field guides by Chris Earley: Hawks & Owls of Eastern North America, and Waterfowl of Eastern North America. The winner will be drawn randomly on Monday February 1 from among those who have registered for the project before the end of January, and the prize will be sent out right away.

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