What’s S’ap – August 2021

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Boreal Chickadee Photo: Scott Leslie 

Dear Atlasser,

COVID-19: The Atlas team reminds all atlassers to be aware of the latest COVID-19 conditions in Ontario. Please follow all public health guidelines and restrictions, and check for updates frequently. Information on the latest conditions and public health guidance can be found on the Government of Ontario website. Follow the links to the most current situation in the province.

We hope your summer has gone well and some normalcy is returning despite the continuing concerns around COVID-19. It’s been a very odd start to Atlas-3 with all the travel restrictions and absence of a social component to the project, which is usually so important. Despite this, you atlassers came through like the Canadian Women’s soccer team at the recent Olympic Games, as summarized in the table below.

Data submission deadline is August 31

The main goal for now is to make sure that you get your 2021 atlas data in by the end of August. Having the data in will be very useful so we can see exactly how things went in 2021 and so we can plan effectively for 2022 and beyond. After 2021, it’s all about filling gaps in coverage, so being able to identify and home in on those gaps is crucial.

If you need help with data entry, please contact your Regional Coordinator or Kaelyn at the Atlas “office” at atlas@birdsontario.org. You might also want to attend the August 26th Sappy Hour which is devoted to atlas data entry.

Long-eared Owl survey data submission

We’re having some challenges getting the LEOW Survey data entry operational. Please hang on to the data for now and we’ll get word out once it’s working. As a result, you don’t have to worry about meeting the August 31 deadline for these data. Our apologies for any inconvenience this has caused.

Your efforts to date

We’re off to a great start and are very close to Atlas-2 levels of participation (see Table 1) – we may well exceed them once all the data are in. With a global pandemic underway, that’s a great credit to you and the Ontario birding community generally. Well done, folks!

Table 1. Comparison of effort in year 1 of Atlas-2 and -3. Note that the data shown for Atlas-3 are partial and yet to be reviewed.






Point Counts


Atlas-2 2001







Atlas-3 2021 (to AUG 10)







Atlassers: This is the number of people who have submitted data which will probably increase as everyone gets their data in. You can help us to increase participation in 2022 by getting your birding friends to jump on-board. (A greater number of people have registered, but not entered data.)

Species: it’s not surprising that the species count is lower so far in Atlas-3. We had very little effort in the Hudson Bay Lowlands in 2021 due to COVID. Some Far North work was done but the data are yet to be entered. We are looking forward to filling out that list as we expand our coverage throughout the Lowlands in 2022 and beyond.

Squares: Amazingly, even with COVID-related travel restrictions, we got data for almost as many squares as in Atlas-2.

Records: The big jump here is because of the switch to a checklist approach. As you can see, it provides considerably more data, which will be very useful for understanding our breeding bird populations.

Point Counts: An excellent start and well ahead of Atlas-2 when point counts were novel and it took a year for the new concept to catch on. In Atlas-3, point counters were out of the blocks like Andre De Grasse! It’s quite feasible that there are a lot more point count data yet to be submitted – so if you don’t have yours in yet, please get them in ASAP. (This total also doesn’t include the recorded point counts, which won’t be added until the recordings are interpreted).

Hours: Wow!! We are already well ahead of Atlas-2, which is fantastic, especially given the pandemic. Three possible reasons: 1. You are wonderful!, 2. Checklisting encourages you to submit data from short atlassing outings, and 3. the app (and eBird) make it easy to do so. Now that the app is working well, we’re hoping for even more hours of atlassing in 2022!

Some kudos

A big shout out to Dianna Wolfe, whose record of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird nest in Parry Sound made her the 1,000th atlasser to contribute data.

So far, 8,244 traditional Point Counts have been entered into the system. Seventeen people have done over 100 point counts each, with Krista Oswald (Gold medal), Bob Saunders (Silver) and Kurt Hennige (Bronze) topping the list with 224, 213 and 205 each respectively. Special thanks to them for an amazing effort.

So far this year, there have been 7 Monthly Challenge winners: Lyle Friesen, Luke Raso, Patricia Wray, Theresa McKenzie, Remy Poulin, Toby Rowland, and Luc Fazio. Congratulations to you all, and keep up the great work!

Thanks to everyone who submitted data so far to the atlas. You helped get the project off to a great start. If you still have data from 2021, please make sure you enter it by the end of August!

Quiz: What species is this?

Here is a screen grab from the Atlas web site species maps of one of the following species, based on 2021 data. Can you guess which? Answer is at the bottom of the newsletter.

  • Green-winged Teal
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • Yellow-throated Vireo
  • Gray Catbird
  • Magnolia Warbler


That’s all for now, folks!

– The Atlas-3 Team



The Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas-3 thanks the following for their financial support:

Environment and Climate Change Canada

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation

Vortex Canada

Natural Resource Solutions Inc.,

Hodgson Family Foundation

Baillie Fund

RBC Foundation

Employment and Social Development Canada

(Canada Summer Jobs)


The Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas-3 thanks the following for their in-kind support:

Boreal Avian Modelling Project

Natural Resources Canada 

Ontario Parks 

Parks Canada

Royal Ontario Museum 

Sustainable Forestry Initiative 

University of Alberta 

Wild Birds Unlimited 


Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry





Quiz answer:

Yellow-throated Vireo. It’s interesting to see that the pattern of this species’ expected occurrence is already coming though, with bands of records in the Carolinian Region (north of Lake Erie) and the edge of the Canadian Shield (from Kingston to Midland), as well as a few records near Lake-of-the-Woods.


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