Spring Programs

Great Canadian Birdathon

 Every year birders of all ages, abilities and backgrounds take to the trails, meadows and forests to look for birds. You can choose any day in May and determine the length of your birding adventure. Ask your friends, family, neighbours and colleagues to support your efforts, with all funds going to birds Canada. All donations are tax creditable. Registered participants can receive an exclusive Great Canadian Birdathon t-shirt and are eligible to win some fantastic prizes.

Set your Birdathon goals. Will you try to find 10 different species? 100 species? Will you aim to raise $200, $2000? Any amount will help protect birds.

 Skill Level: No need to be an expert birder! Birds Canada will help you get started.

When: Usually May, but flexible.

Contact: Register as an individual, join a team or start your own.


Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas 3 (2021-2025)

Canada’s National Atlas Program is a partnership between Birds Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, provincial governments, natural history organizations, and the private sector. National Atlas Program results drive conservation policy, Species at Risk recovery, habitat management and stewardship, land acquisition, and more!

The goal of the Atlas is to map the current distribution and relative abundance of all species of birds breeding within the province over a five-year data collection period: 2021-2025. The goal of each participant is to collect observations on breeding birds using standardized methods within 10x10km (10-km) atlas squares and submit that data as described. Regional Coordinators organize the volunteers and review the data collected in their respective regions.

Citizen Science volunteers are needed for active atlas projects–we’d love to hear from you!

 Skill Level: Any skill level can participate, but advanced identification skills will increase the value of the data provided.

When: Breeding Season (May 24th-June 10th)



Marsh Monitoring Program

 The Marsh Monitoring Program (MMP) is a wildlife monitoring program for coastal and inland marshes. MMP volunteers can choose to survey amphibian or bird populations within a particular wetland, or both. This program requires volunteers to spend time outdoors recording information about marsh wildlife and habitat during scheduled spring and summer visits. Survey information helps track long-term trends in species diversity and guides conservation, restoration, and management programs for marshes and their bird and amphibian inhabitants.

 Skill Level: Intermediate to advanced, but education/training materials provided.

When: Bird survey season begins in early spring (March/April). Amphibian surveys take place during the first two weeks of April, May and June.

Contact: Kathy Jones, Volunteer Manager Birds Canada

Tel: 1-888-448-BIRD (2473) ex.124

Jennifer Nantais

Regional Coordinator

Gina Pannunzio

Regional Coordinator



Historically, Chimney Swifts roosted and nested in hollow trees. As Europeans settled in North America, adequate trees became increasingly scarce. Swifts adapted to this changing landscape by making their homes in chimneys and were soon thriving in our urban communities.

Today Chimney swifts face new challenges as chimneys are capped or torn down, older buildings are demolished, and new structure designs do not support Chimney Swift populations. Other factors such as severe weather events, pesticide use, and changes in insect abundance are likely also affecting swifts. The Canadian population has declined by almost 90% since 1970.

Through SwiftWatch, volunteers and community members are filling critical information gaps and addressing key threats. Birds Canada and partner organizations are working with schools, homeowners, building managers, chimney sweeps, and townships to maintain and protect these sites for our upstairs neighbours.

 Skill Level: All skill levels.

When: Select monitoring dates throughout spring and summer.



Swifts and Swallows

In an effort to conserve swifts and swallows and their habitats across the country, Birds Canada is looking to address knowledge gaps and identify high-priority sites for Chimney Swifts, Barn Swallows, Bank Swallows, Cliff Swallows, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Tree Swallows, and Purple Martins. You can help by sharing casual observations, detailed nest reports, or roost site information. Swifts and Swallows collect data about these insectivores using Swiftwatch, Presence/Absence Surveys, and Project Nestwatch.

Presence/Absence Surveys

Use this page to tell us about swifts, swallows or other aerial insectivores you’ve seen: https://birdscanada.org/birdmon/ai/aicasual.jsp


Schoolyard/Home Bird Blitz

Explore the birds near you and participate in Bird Blitz at school or home anytime during the month of May! It’s fun for all ages, participating is easy, and your observations help scientists monitor Canada’s birds!

Skill Level: Any skill level.

When: Choose any day in May to conduct your bird count or participate several times throughout the month.

Select your location and date to print the most common birds in your area for your bird count:


Print a Bird Tally to help keep track of your observations:


Observe birds for as little as 15 minutes or all day! Keep track of your observations or record on the bird tally form. Submit your observations to Nature Counts for a chance to win a prize!

NatureCounts – Bird Blitz (birdscanada.org)


American Woodcock Survey

Dedicated volunteers spend one spring evening surveying a designated roadside route. During these straightforward surveys, runners stop at pre-assigned points and tally all American Woodcocks they hear.

The AWS is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service program, delivered in Ontario by the partners Birds Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Reports are submitted immediately through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data entry website. The results are published at the USFWS Annual Report website and through the Migratory Bird Data Center website.

One route available in the Lakeshore area. Request a route at http://eepurl.com/dtJNcT

Skill Level: Any skill level.

When: One evening in spring.


Kathy Jones, Ontario Volunteer Manager, at 1-888-448-2473 ext. 124 or .


Global Big Day

When: May 8th, 2021.

Global Big Day is an annual celebration of the birds around you. Participating is easy—you can even be part of Global Big Day from home. If you can spare 5 or 10 minutes, report your bird observations to eBird online or using the free eBird Mobile app. If you have more time, submit checklists of birds throughout the day. You never know what you might spot. Report what you find from anywhere in the world.

During the day, follow along with sightings from more than 170 countries in real-time on our Global Big Day page.

Global Big Day – eBird