Welcome to the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas
About the Atlas
Data collection for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas 3 (Atlas-3) began on January 1, 2021. Volunteer birders will count and record the presence of breeding birds across Ontario – from the south to the north – for five years.
Atlas-3 is a partnership between the same five organizations as Atlas-2: Birds Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment and Climate Change Canada), Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry – Government of Ontario, Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO), and Ontario Nature.
Volunteers are central to the success of the Atlas. This enormous project is achievable only through the mass participation of the province’s birders. It shows what the birding community can accomplish when we work together with a single purpose.
Atlas-3 will be a grand adventure for the province’s birders who make it possible! We cannot do it without your help.
The Purpose of the Atlas
The goal of the Atlas is to map the distribution and relative abundance of Ontario’s approximately 300 species of breeding birds – from as far south as Middle Island in Lake Erie, to Hudson Bay in the north.
The data collected over five years provides essential information for researchers, scientists, government officials and conservation professionals. It will guide environmental policies and conservation strategies for years to come.
Data collection for the two previous Ontario atlasses ran from 1981-1985 and 2001-2005, followed by the publication of books summarizing the results. The two previous projects were enormous (and successful!). But we’re hoping Atlas-3 will be the best one yet – providing an unprecedented understanding of the status, distribution and abundance of the province’s birds and a huge database of information that can be used for bird conservation purposes well into the future.
Who can participate?
Although anyone is welcome to participate in the Atlas, higher levels of birding skill will improve your efficiency and the amount you will be able to contribute.
Finding all the species in your square is a lot easier if you can identify birds by their songs, especially because atlassing largely happens in the summer when vegetation is thick, and birds are harder to see. And, of course, having that skillset makes you a more efficient birder, allows you to do atlas point counts, and helps connect you to the natural world. We are hoping that all birders will be working on their song ID skills in the summer of 2020 in preparation for the 2021 start up of the Atlas.