OFO’s Rare Bird Ambassadors


OFO’s Rare Bird Ambassador plan is about empowering Ontario birders with the tools and resources needed so that they can coordinate with property owners to ensure the best outcomes for all parties.

When a rare bird appears on private property or public property where access and/or crowd control may become an issue, careful planning is required to ensure that the owner/host/property manager, birders, photographers and the bird all have a positive experience.

The goal is to promote positive relations between landowners, birders, and photographers, ultimately resulting in happy people and happy birds. Birders can still decide if they want to share sightings or not; we just hope that this makes the decision easier and spreads out the workload related to managing rare bird observations.

Find out more about this exciting program at: Finding Birds / Rare Bird Ambassadors

What to do if you have found a rare bird? Instructions for landowners and birders

Want to be a Rare Bird Ambassador? You don’t have to belong to OFO.

Find out more about being a Rare Bird Ambassador

Register to be a Rare Bird Ambassador

Photo Credit: Marsh Sandpiper by Matt Parsons

Shorebird Viewing at Hillman Marsh

Join OFO experts at the Shorebird Cell to watch shorebirds migrating to Arctic breeding grounds

May 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22 and 25 From 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

DIRECTIONS: Hillman Marsh main entrance is at Mersea Rd 2 and County Rd 37. From Point Pelee, take County Rd 33 (Pelee Dr). Turn right (north) on Mersea Rd 12 (Nobel Rd) for 5 km to Mersea Rd 2 (Oak St). Turn right (east) for 3.5 km. Hillman entrance is on right. From main parking lot take walking trail to shorebird cell. Hillman Marsh is open daily from dawn to dusk.

ADMISSION: Daily entry fee $10 at self serve kiosk or purchase annual pass ($80) or Hillman Marsh Spring Birding Pass ($25) from Essex Region Conservation Authority. Three-day Birding Pass (combo Point Pelee and Hillman Marsh) available at the park gate.

OFO Merchandise Available

Bird of the Year 2024 and more

Alessandra Kite’s rendition of a flying male Bobolink gained the most votes from members, making it our first Bird of the Year logo! You can purchase it at on a variety of items the OFO Redbubble store. While you are at it, why not purchase a t-shirt or mug with the OFO Pileated Woodpecker logo or Birding Buddies Red-breasted Nuthatch?

Statement on Safety

OFO is committed to fostering a safe and welcoming organization that is free of discrimination and harassment.
OFO’s 2023 statement on safety in the Ontario birding community can be found on the EDI webpage.

2023 Convention Highlights

OFO’s 2023 Convention and AGM took place in Peterborough in September, with a Northern edition in Timmins. Here are some highlights:

Read all about it!

OFO Birding Buddies

We are excited to introduce OFO Birding Buddies! Do you ever travel to parts of the province that you are not familiar with and wish that you could talk to local birders to get their advice on how to bird the area? Or even better, find someone local to go birding with? OFO Birding Buddies will provide you with contact info for OFO members across Ontario who are willing to provide you with that advice or take you out birding. When you join or renew your OFO membership this year, you’ll have the option being a part of OFO Birding Buddies by providing your general location, contact info, and a short description of the assistance you’re able to provide for other OFO members that are visiting your area.

Login here to find your OFO Birding Buddies, update your profile, donate, and register for field trips.

OFO Birdathon 2023 trip report

The OFO Big Day Birdathon took place this year on May 22, 2023. Our four celebrity young birders, Rowan Keunen, Max Segler, Piper Smith, and Liam Thorne, decided to do a county Big Day and chose Norfolk as the county to do it in. They recently published an account of their trip report, which summarizes the results of their all-out, 24-hour rush to find as many species as possible.

Many thanks to our Birdathon supporters. The 2023 Birds Canada Birdathon effort raised funds for OFO’s Young Birders Program and to support bird research and conservation through Birds Canada. Please note that donations can still be made, and all proceeds will go to the OFO Young Birders program.

Two ways to donate! Tax receipts will be issued for amounts over $20.

Canada Helps: https://www.canadahelps.org/me/6NJzbSN

Birds Canada: https://www.birdscanada.org/you-can-help/birdathon then search for OFO’s Celebrity Birders

Link to trip summary: http://wp.ofo.ca/norfolk-county-big-day/

Cheat Sheets for Birding I.D.

After taking a 101 Birding course in 2019 with Anthony Kaduck, newbie bird nerd Jenny Newton initially had difficulty identifying small birds because she just didn’t know the differences between sparrows, warblers and others.

So she decided to create a Perch Bird Cheat Sheet for Ontario birds sorted by colour and size. It worked for her!! Today, there are 17 cheat sheets of Ontario birds (e.g. ducks, owls) all with photos sourced from Macaulay Library available for both learning and as a refresher.

Just follow this link to download them.

Enabled Birding

Help make birding for EveryBody!

Ontario Field Ornithologists and Birds Canada, with the help of Toronto Ornithological Club, and have teamed up to create an interactive map featuring the accessibility details of nine great Ontario birding sites.

Click here for more detail and the latest update. 

OFO is generously sponsored by

Ontario Field Ornithologists © 1984. All photographs on the site © the photographer.