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April 19, 2023, Port Rowan, Ontario – Birds Canada and partners are launching the third season of the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas-3 project (Atlas-3), the largest province-wide Citizen Science effort which surveys all species breeding in Ontario. Volunteer birders, of all skill-levels, can help collect critical data to inform conservation actions to better protect birds and biodiversity.

The Atlas runs for five years, and only happens once every two decades. Ontario successfully accomplished Atlas-1 (1981–1985), the first standardized survey of its kind in Canada, leading to a historic detailed account of nearly 300 species’ breeding evidence, including six new confirmed breeding species: Cinnamon Teal, Canvasback, Bohemian Waxwing, Northern Shrike, Harris’ Sparrow, and Snow Bunting.

Ontario Atlas Kickoff Guelph. Photo: Natasha Barlow

Atlas-2 (2001–2005) was the first in North America to conduct point counts – a tally of birds detected by sight and sound by a single birder at a fixed location and time. Data from over 60,000 point counts permitted the mapping of relative abundance for 120 species and has helped focus conservation efforts on the most crucial areas of Ontario. The project also added eight new confirmed breeding species, including Eared Grebe, Black-necked Stilt, and the Hoary Redpoll.

There are three billion fewer birds in North America today than in 1970. Threats include a terrible mix of habitat loss, domestic cat predation, climate change, pesticide use, and more. Birds are sounding the alarm for nature more broadly. Throughout Atlas-3, over 1,200 concerned Citizen Science volunteers across the province have already submitted observations of breeding bird evidence, but there are still large coverage gaps. The critical data submitted to the Atlas is used extensively by provincial and federal governments, among many other sectors, to conduct status assessments, adapt species at risk listings, have accurate population numbers, and inform policy decisions to ensure Ontario continues to host healthy and thriving ecosystems for generations to come.

The Atlas documents breeding birds throughout the entire province, which can only be done with the help of volunteers. To connect new ‘atlassers’ with others from across the province, provide hands-on training from experts, and share how these data will impact conservation decisions for years to come, Atlas HQ is hosting events across Earth Day weekend, April 22 – 23. Register now to join these events and consider joining the Atlas today to help us help birds!

Black-necked Stilt. Photo: Trisha Snider

The Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas is a partnership between Birds Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment and Climate Change Canada), Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO), Ontario Nature, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry – Government of Ontario.

Learn more about the Atlas and how the data is used online:



Media Contact

Kaelyn Bumelis
Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas-3 Assistant Coordinator, Birds Canada

Birds Canada is a national organization dedicated to bird science and conservation. Every day, our thousands of caring donors, 100+ passionate staff, and 74,000+ outstanding volunteers are taking action to help us better understand, appreciate, and conserve birds and their habitats. Together, we are Canada’s voice for birds.


Osprey. Photo: Finn Fraser Grathwol
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