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Baillie Fund

Grade 10 students from Beaulieu Memorial School, Sandy Bay First Nation learned about Western Grebes, a species of Special Concern in Canada, and other bird species found at the Sandy Bay Marshes Important Bird and Biodiversity Area thanks to the Baillie Fund. (Photo: Lynnea Parker)

Baillie Fund


The James L. Baillie Memorial Fund for Bird Research and Preservation (the Baillie Fund), established and managed by Birds Canada, provides grants to projects that help to conserve wild birds. It is funded by the annual Great Canadian Birdathon and by private donations.

Eligible Projects


The Baillie Fund supports research, monitoring, education, and conservation projects that involve any wild bird species occurring in Canada. Projects must be conducted in Canada, or on Canadian breeding birds on their wintering grounds or along their migratory pathways.

The James L. Baillie Fund has three granting programs:


  • The Regular Grants Program;
  • The Small Grants Program; and
  • The Student Award for Field Research.

Regular Grants

Grants of between $1000 and $5000 are available to non-profit organizations. Regular Grants may not contribute more than 50% of the total cost of a project; i.e., the amount requested must have at least a 1:1 cash or in-kind contribution match.

A minimum of $15,000 is available annually under the Regular Grants program, and normally between six and eight grants are awarded each year.

The Regular Grant application deadline is the 15th of December. Applications must be submitted by email with a maximum length of 10 pages in 12-point type.

Small Grants

Grants of between $250 and $1000 are available to individuals or non-profit organizations for volunteer-based projects. No matching cash or in-kind contributions are required.

A maximum of $5000 is available annually under the Small Grants program, and normally between three and six Small Grants are awarded each year.

The Small Grant application deadline is the 15th of January. Applications must be submitted by email with a maximum length of six pages.

Student Award for Field Research

The James L. Baillie Student Research Award is awarded to a graduate student conducting field studies on Canadian birds in their natural environment. The $2000 award is administered by The Society of Canadian Ornithologists (SCO), and the application deadline is March 1.

Information on how to apply for The James L. Baillie Student Award for Field Research is available on the Society of Canadian Ornithologists website at

Decisions concerning grants are announced in March and cheques for successful projects are issued in May. For Regular and Small grant projects conducted outside the usual May to December funding and reporting cycle, applications can be submitted in the year preceding the planned activity. However, the funds provided must be used in the year for which they were requested and reporting should be completed within three months of the completion of the project.

Eligible projects include:

  • Inventory and atlas-type projects that provide information on the distribution and abundance of Canadian birds at various scales;
  • Monitoring projects that provide information on changes in bird populations or other ecological factors, including evaluation of results;
  • Pilot migration monitoring projects (new locations, or new programs at established stations);
  • Research projects that involve studies of birds in their natural environment;
  • Bird conservation science and education projects;
  • Projects that improve public awareness of the needs of Canadian birds;
  • Projects that provide training in field methods to volunteers and interns;
  • Projects that promote the conservation of bird species identified as a priority for conservation provincially, nationally, or internationally; and
  • Projects that promote the conservation of Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas in Canada.

The following are generally considered to be of low funding priority:

  • Publication costs;
  • Birding festivals;
  • Habitat enhancement or restoration;
  • Established migration monitoring programs and other ongoing projects;
  • Bird rehabilitation projects; and
  • Construction of artificial nest structures, nest boxes, and viewing platforms.

Ineligible projects include:

  • Studies that entail the sacrificing of study subjects; and
  • Land acquisition projects.

Who can apply?

Individuals or non-profit organizations may submit applications. For atlas-type projects, applications must be submitted by the sponsoring organization or project coordinator, rather than by individual participants or regional coordinators. Support of graduate student research is not a priority for the Baillie Fund, unless the research clearly involves substantial numbers of volunteers in data collection or in other aspects of the project.

Eligible Costs

Baillie Fund support may be used to cover various project costs, including those associated with promoting volunteer involvement, compiling and analysing data collected by volunteers, reasonable field expenses and travel costs, and field equipment and supplies. Please note, however, that overhead expenses (e.g., university overhead, or payroll and accounting fees) are not eligible.

The key differences between the three programs are summarized in the following table.

Summary of Baillie Fund Granting Programs

Regular Grants

Small Grants

Student Research Award


Non-profit organizations

Individuals or organizations

Graduate students

Matching Funds Required

At least 1:1 match required

None required

None Required

Size of Grants

$1000 to $5000

250 to $1000


Total Amount Available Annually

Minimum of $15,000

Up to $5000


Number of Grants Awarded Annually

Six to eight

Three to six


Average percentage of projects funded 45% 36%


Call for Proposals




Application Deadline

15th December

15th January

1st March

Grants Announced




For additional information on the various grant programs please contact the Baillie Fund Secretary, Andrew Coughlan by email or phone 1-866-518-0212.

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