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By Liz Purves, Ontario Director, Birds Canada


If you haven’t heard yet, the third Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas takes flight in spring 2021. “Atlas-3” will ambitiously attempt to map the distribution and abundance of Ontario’s approximately 300 species of breeding birds over a period of five years (2021-25). If you aren’t familiar with breeding bird atlases, click here for some background on these important projects.

We’ve already had two bird atlases in Ontario (1981-85 and 2001-05), and the third won’t disappoint. Data collected during Atlas-3 will draw from the contributions of thousands of volunteer birders, field crews, and cutting-edge automatic recording units to garner as much coverage of the province as possible. Results from Atlas-3 will provide invaluable data for conservation planning, species and environmental assessments, habitat protection, and much more for years to come.

Eastern Kingbirds Photo: Scott Leslie

Volunteers are at the heart of an atlas and are essential to the success of Atlas-3. We need birders of all skill levels to help with the atlas, and especially those with the ability to bird by ear. If you’re interested in learning more about Atlas-3, check out our new website, Here, you can learn more about how you can participate by checking out our FAQ. You can also meet your Atlas-3 team, including the incredible volunteer Regional Coordinators that make tremendous efforts to ensure coverage in their local areas. If you would like to become an atlasser, then you can register for the project here.

As we excitedly await the start of atlassing in spring 2021, be sure to start honing your birding skills by checking out these resources. You can also keep in touch with Atlas-3 by following the project’s Facebook (Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas) and Twitter (@ONBirdAtlas) accounts. Thank you for helping to make this project a grand success!

Atlas-3 is a partnership of Birds Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service – Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry – Government of Ontario, Ontario Field Ornithologists, and Ontario Nature.

Herring Gulls Photo: Missy Mandel

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