Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Breeding Bird Atlas Shows Bird Nesting Trends

Submitted by: Cliff Bennett,
Saturday, March 22, 2003

CardinalRavens are now nesting in downtown Ottawa! How did we know that? They were observed and listed in the second Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (OBBA), 2001 to 2005. Paul Jones, a member of the Region 24 (Ottawa and district) OBBA coordinating committee, disclosed this fact as an example of the tracking of birds which are currently breeding in Ontario and especially in the Ottawa area.

Paul Jones, an Ottawa lawyer currently working for the Canadian Association of University Teachers, spoke to the monthly meeting of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists at the United Church Hall in Almonte on Thursday, March 20. Using slides of birds and accompanying charts showing their distribution, Jones explained certain trends occurring so far in this second of two breeding bird atlases for Ontario. The first atlas was conducted between 1981 and 1985.

As Jones disclosed, much can happen to the bird world in twenty years time and the purpose of this second atlas to map these changes. For instance, in 1981, ravens nested to the north and west of us but are now raising their families locally, especially in Ottawa.

Merlins, a northern raptor, are another example of a population shift. In the first altas, they were shown nesting as far south as Pembroke but are now also nesting locally. House finches were just beginning to make their way into Eastern Ontario from the USA in 1981-85 but today, as noted in the past two years of this current atlas, are well established as far north as Renfrew.

At the conclusion of Paul Jones presentation, the audience asked numerous questions as to how the atlas is organized and who can participate. MVFN is currently conducting studies in one square, in the Appleton area. Introduced by Cliff Bennett, Paul was thanked by MVFN Board member Michael MacPherson. A lively discussion continued over refreshments.

The next MVFN activity will be an evening presentation on wild flowers, to be held at Almonte United Church, Thursday, April 17. For details and much more, visit the Field Naturalist’s website at MVFN .ca.

submitted by Cliff Bennett 256-5013