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Birding in the Ottawa area


Right: White-breasted Nuthatch at Nortel Woods. Photo by Diane Lepage

Code of Conduct
for birders, birdwatchers, and photographers

Get help identifying a bird
Report a bird sighting

Ottawa has a rich and varied birding community with a long history dating from the middle of the 19th century. Amateurs and professionals — from Percy Taverner and Earl Godfrey through to today's Feeder and Peregrine Watch volunteers — have done everything from founding national institutions to having fun at an Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club Members are an integral part of this history.

Any club member with an interest in birds might find a bird study group session to be of interest. There is no cost to attend, and really nothing to join. Anyone interested in receiving notice of upcoming bird study group sessions should send a note saying so, together with their e-mail address, to the Bird Study Coordinator. We will add you to the e-mail notification list.

Current committee initiatives and resources

Local bird sightings
Bird Study Group
Peregrine Falcon Watch
Birding Site Guide
Ottawa Checklist
Shrike Database
Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas
Audubon Christmas Bird Count
Mid-Fall Bird Count
Seedathon
Bird Feeders
Bird Records Subcommittee
Can't find a location?
How rare is the bird that I saw?
Reporting a rare bird
Need more birding information for Ottawa?
Birding links

Bird Study Group

The Birds Committee organizes talks and workshops on topics of interest to birders. Sometimes we cover bird identification matters, other times bird biology or bird-related projects. The sessions do not follow a set schedule, but take place whenever we get one organized. Most have taken the form of indoor, evening talks led by local people with a particular expertise; they are normally held at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden on a week night. The group has also held several successful "Talk & Walks" on seasonally appropriate subjects (e.g., fall waterfowl) on weekend mornings.

Any club member with an interest in birds might find a bird study group session to be of interest. There is no cost to attend, and really nothing to join. Anyone interested in receiving notice of upcoming bird study group sessions should send a note saying so, together with their e-mail address, to the Bird Study Group. We will add you to the e-mail notification list.

People who are not OFNC members are welcome to attend, but we encourage them to become members.

Peregrine FalconWatch

Each year a subcommittee of the Birds Committee gathers a group of volunteers to keep an eye on our Ottawa peregrines who nest on a downtown high-rise. See FalconWatch for more information about the watch and records of watches since 1997.

Birding site guide

Check the Birds Committee's Ottawa Birding Locations. The guide describes prime birding areas in and around Ottawa. It is complete with species to watch for, directions and map coordinates.

Ottawa checklist

A Birder's Checklist for the Ottawa-Gatineau District is a complete online listing of all birds found within 50 km of the centre of Ottawa along with their seasonal status. Hard copy pocket card versions of the checklist are listed for sale on Publications.

Historical checklists are also available.

Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas

The Birds Committee is supporting the collection of data for the second Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (OBBA) project, which is underway and will run through 2005. This second atlas, like the first, will focus on mapping the distribution of all breeding species in Ontario, but with more emphasis this time on collecting abundance information. For more information, see About the project, and for regular updates and a list of information for atlassers on this web site, see the OFNC's atlas index page.

Audubon Christmas Bird Count

The Birds Committee organizes the Ottawa contribution to the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. This North-America wide birding tradition started in 1900 and the OFNC has participated continuously since 1920. In recent years we have partnered with the Club des ornithologues de l'Outaouais in this effort. The Count usually takes place in mid-December and involves teams of volunteers who spend most of the day outdoors tallying species and numbers of birds within a 7.5 mile radius of the Peace Tower. Other volunteers contribute by noting the birds that come to their backyard feeders on the day of the count.

Results of the 2012 Christmas Bird Count
Results of the 2011 Christmas Bird Count
Results of the 2010 Christmas Bird Count
Results of the 2009 Christmas Bird Count
Results of the 2008 Christmas Bird Count
Results of the 2007 Christmas Bird Count
Results of the 2006 Christmas Bird Count
Results of the 2005 Christmas Bird Count
Results of the 2004 Christmas Bird Count
Results of the 2003 Christmas Bird Count
Results of the 2002 Christmas Bird Count
Results of the 2001 Christmas Bird Count
Results of the 2000 Christmas Bird Count
Results of the 1999 Christmas Bird Count

Click here for historical results for Ottawa and other North American Christmas Bird Counts.

Mid-Fall Bird Count

The Ottawa-Hull Mid-Fall Bird Count is an annual event, sponsored by the Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club and the Club des ornithologues de l'Outaouais. Volunteers cover the area within a 50-km radius of the Peace Tower. The count window is a 24-hour period ending at 3 pm with a post-count compilation meeting and dinner.

Results of the 2013 Fall Bird Count
Results of the 2012 Fall Bird Count
Results of the 2011 Fall Bird Count
Results of the 2010 Fall Bird Count
Results of the 2009 Fall Bird Count
Results of the 2008 Fall Bird Count
Results of the 2007 Fall Bird Count
Results of the 2006 Fall Bird Count
Results of the 2005 Fall Bird Count
Results of the 2004 Fall Bird Count
Results of the 2003 Fall Bird Count
Results of the 2002 Fall Bird Count
Results of the 2001 Fall Bird Count
Results of the 2000 Fall Bird Count

Seedathon

This "Big Day" event is held annually in early fall to raise funds for purchasing seeds for the bird feeders maintained by OFNC volunteers (see below). Birds Committee members seek sponsors who donate a fixed amount or offer to pay on a per-species basis. Keen OFNC birders then try to find as many species of birds as possible within a 24-hour period.The record is 134 species set in 2006 by Chris Lewis, Bob Bracken and Bernie Ladouceur.

Results of the 2011 Seedathon
Results of the 2010 Seedathon
Results of the 2009 Seedathon
Results of the 2008 Seedathon
Results of the 2007 Seedathon
Results of the 2006 Seedathon
Results of the 2005 Seedathon
Results of the 2004 Seedathon
Results of the 2003 Seedathon
Results of the 2002 Seedathon
Results of the 2001 Seedathon

Bird Feeders

The OFNC's Birds Committee also manages winter feeding stations at Dewberry Trail on Dolman Ridge, Mer Bleue, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Pine Grove Trail on Davidson Road, Jack Pine Trail on Moodie Drive, and the Canadian Museum of Nature facility on Pink Road. The CMN feeders are a joint effort of the museum, Le Club des Ornithologues de l'Outaouais, and the OFNC.

Need more birding information for Ottawa?

See our list of Birding Links. Also Larry Neily, an OFNC member, maintains an extensive website on birding in Ottawa and elsewhere at NeilyWorld.

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© The Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club
This page was revised on 10 December 2014
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