OTTAWA BIRD COUNT
A Volunteer Based, Scientifically Rigorous Survey of Birds in an Expanding City
It’s an exciting time in the world of bird conservation and science. eBird has grown into a tremendous resource for information about the distribution of birds around the world and in our own city. The eBird database currently includes more than 100,000 checklists from within the city of Ottawa. And, ongoing advances in the statistical analyses of these checklists are leading to some fascinating results.
eBird data represent a wonderful opportunity for the Ottawa Bird Count. In his professional capacity, Adam Smith visited the Cornell Lab of Ornithology this spring, meeting with the researchers behind the new eBird status and trend estimates. During those meetings, he was really excited to hear about advances in ways to integrate rigorous statistical sampling designs (like our point count program’s stratified random sample of locations across the city) with eBird observations. By combining the observations from our statistically rigorous sampling design with the huge sample of observations from eBird, we’re going to learn so much more about the birds in our city:
- better maps,
- better estimates of population sizes,
- better estimates of how bird populations are changing,
- better predictions of changes in the future, and
- a better understanding of the opportunities to make our city a healthy home for birds and people.
So the time is right for an evolution of the Ottawa Bird Count. We’re designing a new OBC protocol to use the eBird app, and we’re re-imagining the sampling design of our point count and census plot programs to integrate more efficiently with the eBird data.
To ensure that we have the energy to focus on the future, we’ve decided to postpone our 13th field season. I’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has already contacted us wondering about census plots and point count routes. For 2019, your efforts are best put towards eBird. Download the app, get comfortable with using it, and start submitting observations from everywhere you usually go in the city.
This year’s Chirps, Tweets, and Trills was another great success: 85 people signed up and learned how to identify the bird-sounds of their neighbourhood. Thanks to everyone who took part, and if you missed it, don’t worry; the course will be back next year.
So thanks again to all our volunteers. We’re really excited about the future of the Ottawa Bird Count. We’ll be in touch over the coming year with some exciting new results and more details on our vision for the future.
Enjoy the birds in your neighbourhood
The Directors of the Ottawa Bird Count
Adam Smith, Andrea Clouston, Bernie Ladouceur, and Marie-Anne Hudson
Ottawa Bird Count Science, in the news!
The Ottawa Bird Count shows that people who live in neighbourhoods with more birds are happier. Read the the Ottawa Citizen article, and stay-tuned for the published scientific paper.
Ottawa Bird Count Presentation May 2014 This presentation summarizes some of the results so far: occurrence of specific bird species,...