Bird Counts: Citizen Science

Bird counting is a citizen science activity. It involves the participation of volunteer bird watchers who observe birds, count them, and compile the results to feed bird databases. It is a way to contribute to scientific knowledge to better understand the distribution areas of species, their behavior, their reproduction, their habitat, to monitor populations and thus to collaborate in species conservation programs.

To access the website of each event, click on the title of the event.

The Grand Défi QuébecOiseaux is the most important ornithological activity in Quebec. As part of the World Migratory Bird Day, the Regroupement QuébecOiseaux is challenging birdwatchers in Quebec to identify as many species of birds as possible from a fixed point within a 24-hour period, without leaving a circle  of 10 meters in diameter. The objective of the Grand Défi QuébecOiseaux is to raise public awareness of bird watching and conservation and to hold a fundraising campaign dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats.

Each group chooses its own objectives and date. The next edition of the Grand Défi will be held between May 1 and 31, 2022. To know more .

The GBBC is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of populations. Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can participate from your backyard, or anywhere in the world. Participants upload their data to eBird. The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint program of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, with Birds Canada as the Canadian partner.   

The last GBBC was held February 18-21, 2022.

SwiftWatch is a Citizen Science program in which volunteers locate and monitor chimneys used by Chimney Swifts each year. Through SwiftWatch, volunteers and community members are filling critical information gaps and addressing key threats. COBM is collaborating with Environment and Climate Change Canada to inventory Chimney Swifts at two large chimney stacks known on the COBM territory. They count Chimney Swifts that enter a dormitory chimney on set dates. The activity takes place in the evening at sunset.

A brand new financial support program has just been launched: the Chimney Swift Chimney Restoration Fund. Its objective is to help maintain nesting and roosting sites for swifts by providing financial support for the restoration of human-made structures (such as chimneys) considered important to the species in Canada. The Fund is a program initiated by Birds Canada with financial support from Environment and Climate Change Canada and the support and advice of various partners, including QuébecOiseaux

Any owner of a chimney (or conservation organization on behalf of a homeowner) can apply for financial support for a chimney (or other structure) that Chimney Swifts are known to use for nesting or roosting, and which is in need of repair. For more information, see the Birds Canada media release and the Chimney Swift Chimney Restoration Fund’s website . Pass the information on to chimney owners who may benefit from it. 

Coming dates for Swift Watch are May 25, May 29, June 2 and June 6, 2022. To sign up to monitor a chimney, register with one of the two contacts above or contact the coordinator for COBM, Louise Lalumière

The North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is the primary source of long-term for over 400 breeding bird species. It is coordinated in Canada by Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS). One day a year, during the peak of the breeding season and for as many years as possible, skilled BBS observers run their assigned roadside route(s). Routes consist of 50 stops spaced 0.8 km apart along a 39.4-km route. Participants record the total number of individual bird species heard from any distance or seen within 0.4 km of each stop during a three-minute observation.

The next BBS will take place between May 28 and July 7. Please sign up .

QuébecOiseaux manages the monitoring of bird populations at risk: Suivi des populations d’oiseaux en péril du Québec (SOS-POP). The program aims to identify the nesting sites of birds at risk in our region and to monitor them over the years. The data received is integrated into the Quebec birds at risk database and the Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec. Each year the priority sites and species are determined in order to guide the efforts of the participants.

In the summer of 2020, one of our members, André Bernard, volunteered to identify potential Eastern Meadowlark nesting sites. He tells us about his experience in l’Info-Oiseaux vol 31 no 2 en p. 7.

To participate in the program by conducting an inventory, you can fill out the form on the QuébecOiseaux website. Priority species to be inventoried during the 2022 season are the Sand Martin, the Least Bittern and the Wood Thrush. For more information, contact your SOS-POP coordinator for COBM, Bertrand Hamel (Tél.: 450-525-3149).

Inspired by the well-loved, traditional Christmas Bird Count, the CBC4Kids engages new generations of young birders across North America.  CBC4Kids events and outings are coordinated locally by naturalist or community groups, or at schools, throughout December and January. Experienced guides show young participants how to identify local species and use binoculars, then take them outside to find and count the birds.

For a complete list of citizen science birding programs in Quebec (select the province at the bottom right).