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Thank you for your interest in volunteering for our programs! Volunteers like you are essential to bird monitoring and conservation efforts.

Please note that for your health and safety, all volunteers are expected to follow appropriate COVID-19 protocols as outlined by their province or territory, and local public health guidelines in their area.

Keep an eye on the Birds Canada blog to learn about more volunteer opportunities across Canada as they become available.

 

Western Canada Nocturnal Owl Surveys – British Columbia, Yukon, and Northwest Territories

Volunteer opportunity:

This is an annual roadside survey for nocturnal calling owls. We are looking for surveyors in northern BC, Yukon, and NWT for April! Southern BC surveys are mostly complete for 2021 (they occur in February and March), though southern interior surveys can still happen. Due to COVID-19, select survey routes that are near where you live to limit travel. Please do not visit communities and stores away from your home.

A Barred Owl perched in a cedar with its eyes shut
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Barred Owl Photo: Graham Sorenson

Is it for me?

Participants should be able to recognize all western owl species by call, have access to a vehicle, and be able to spend one evening/night per spring conducting the survey.

 

Learn more and get involved:

Please visit https://www.birdscanada.org/bc_yk_nwt_owls/ or email Graham Sorenson: Bcvolunteer AT birdscanada.org

 

British Columbia Beached Bird Survey – Coastal BC

Volunteer opportunity:

This is a monthly survey of a section of British Columbia’s coast to detect waterbirds that have washed up on shore. Your data help us understand the baseline levels of seabird mortality and detect unusual dieoff events. Even if you record “0 beached birds” – that’s still important data! Due to COVID-19, select survey routes that are near where you live to limit travel. Please do not visit communities and stores away from your home.

A view of a tidal flat and foreshore on the west coast of British Columbia
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Boundary Bay Photo: Graham Sorenson

Is it for me?

Participants should be able to visit the coast at the end of each month to walk the beach or shore that they survey. Beached bird ID guides and other supplies are provided, and beginner birders can join and learn their birds during this project (bring a camera to photograph birds that you cannot ID).

 

Learn more and get involved:

Please visit https://www.birdscanada.org/bird-science/bc-beached-bird-survey/ or email Graham Sorenson: Bcvolunteer AT birdscanada.org

 

Ontario Nocturnal Owl Survey and American Woodcock Survey

Volunteer opportunities:

The Birds Canada Ontario office is looking for new Citizen Scientists who are interested in surveying either owls or American Woodcocks on select routes in rural Ontario.

 

Is it for me?

The birding skill level required is new to intermediate. These roadside routes require a driver. The Owl surveys are conducted at night and available routes occur in northeastern, central, and northern Ontario, often on more demanding roads. Preference will be given to individuals who live near the routes.

Close-up of an American Woodcock showing its large eyes and long bill.
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American Woodcock Photo: Pierre Noel

Learn more and get involved:

To learn more about the American Woodcock Survey and see available routes, please visit https://www.birdscanada.org/bird-science/american-woodcock-survey/. To learn more about the Ontario Nocturnal Owl Survey and see available routes, please visit https://birdscanada.org/on_owls. The contact for these programs is Kathy Jones: volunteer AT birdscanada.org.

Newfoundland and Labrador Nocturnal Owl Survey

Volunteer opportunity:

Volunteers are needed to survey for owls at 10 roadside stops on a pre-determined route, one night between 1 April and 15 May. We’re looking for volunteers to adopt existing routes and/or develop new routes in areas with no current coverage.

 

 

Great Horned Owl
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Great Horned Owl Photo: Alvan Buckley

Is it for me?

This is a great survey for new birders because there are only a few owl calls to learn and relatively little time is required. You will need access to a vehicle. Nocturnal Owl Surveys are often done in pairs for safety reasons; due to COVID-19, partners from different households may need to take separate vehicles.

 

Learn more and get involved:

Please visit https://nocturnalowlsurvey-nl.weebly.com/  or email Catherine Dale: cdale AT birdscanada.org.

 

Newfoundland Breeding Bird Atlas

Volunteer opportunity:

The Island of Newfoundland has been divided into 10 km-by-10 km squares, which are being systematically surveyed for birds between 2020 and 2024. Volunteer “atlassers” spend time birding in one or more of these squares during the breeding season (May – August) and submit their sightings to the online database. Atlassers must respect travel restrictions and public health regulations in Newfoundland. Travel to remote squares may be limited this year.

Great Horned Owl
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Photo: Catherine Dale

Is it for me?

Anyone with access to a pair of binoculars and the desire to learn about birds can participate, as long as they report only the species they can confidently identify. Options for participation vary, depending on volunteer experience, fitness, and time commitment, and range from reporting incidental sightings (very little time required) to conducting point counts (birding experience and larger time commitment required).

 

Learn more and get involved:

 

Please visit https://nf.birdatlas.ca/  or email Catherine Dale: cdale AT birdscanada.org

 

North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) – Routes available in most provinces and territories

Volunteer opportunity:

This survey is the primary source of long-term bird population trends across the continent and keeps scientists and wildlife managers informed of significant changes in breeding bird populations. Volunteers spend a full morning tallying all birds that they see or hear during three-minute counts at 50 designated roadside stops along their route. Volunteers are needed to cover vacant routes across Canada. This includes northern and central Ontario, where Birds Canada is seeking new volunteers to support continued and expanded coverage. All volunteers are expected to follow appropriate COVID-19 safety protocols as outlined by their province or territory, and local public health guidelines in the area where they reside.

A Tree Swallow perched on pole holding a feather in its bill
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Tree Swallow Photo: Brenda Doherty

Is it for me?

This survey is excellent for experienced birders who can identify all bird species they may see or hear along their assigned route. You will need access to a vehicle. Being a “morning person” will help – volunteers drive to their assigned route before sunrise.

 

Learn more and get involved:

Visit the BBS map to see available routes: https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/RouteMap/Map.cfm  To volunteer, please contact your provincial/territorial BBS coordinator or the national BBS office: https://www.birdscanada.org/bird-science/breeding-bird-survey/.

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