Ontario Provincial and Regional Rare Bird Alerts and Birding News

Below is a list of provincial and regional sources of information about birds in Ontario. It includes email groups, instant messaging services, and social media groups. Please note that many of these have no affiliation with OFO. To report an error or omission, email ofo@ofo.ca.

Provincial Rare Bird Alerts (RBAs)

  • Ontbirds
    • Provincial email-based Listserv run by OFO.
  • Ontario Rare Bird Alert (eBird)
    • Automatic eBird-based alerts for the province. Note this includes all records in Ontario “flagged” as rare at the local level from the previous seven days. Can be viewed online or subscribed to for email alerts (hourly or daily).
  • OFO Discord Server
    • Run by OFO, see the Ontario-wide eBird alerts channel that are alerts from eBird submissions of the rarest Ontario birds with updates at a maximum of every three hours.
  • Ontario Bird Alert Discord server (private Discord server, requires membership)
    • Discord server (best used with the Discord app but can be used online with a web browser) with separate “channels”; for regional alerts/discussion but also features an Ontario-wide rare bird alert channel.
    • To join, you need a valid invitation link: this one was updated on 7th April 2022.
    • If the link does not work, please contact the Ontario Bird Alert Discord team.
  • Ontario Rare Bird Alert (Google group)
    • Email-based group (can be viewed online only) with custom hourly and daily feed from eBird of provincial-level rarities.

Provincial Birding News and Discussion

  • OFO on Facebook
  • Birdnews
    • Provincial email-based Listserv run by OFO for announcements, CBC results, FOY sightings, hawk watch reports, bird festival sightings, etc.
  • Ontario Birds (Facebook group)
    • Group for anything related to birds/birding in Ontario.
  • Advanced Birding in Ontario (Facebook group)
    • Group for discussing advanced bird/birding ideas (e.g. difficult ID, hybrids, etc.).
  • Learning About Ontario Birds (Facebook group)
    • Group for anything related to birds/birding in Ontario

Regional Birding News and Discussion (including local Rare Bird Alerts)

OFO WhatsApp Community (NEW in 2024)

In an effort to connect birders and make online birding groups more open and accessible for all, OFO maintains a “WhatsApp Community”. 

WhatsApp communities are a way to “combine” groups. Each group can currently have up to 1024 members and the community can be made up of up to 50 groups and 5000 members. Each group functions on its own, but any member of the community can see a list of all the groups and request to join any they like.

The OFO WhatsApp community is for anything related to birds in Ontario. Some groups focus on regional bird reports (e.g. regional Rare Bird Alerts or RBAs for short) while other groups are more casual and based on topics. If the number of groups becomes too large OFO will prioritize groups that share birding information.

If you already have a WhatsApp group that you would like to add to the community or would like to create a new one, please contact one of the Community Admins or email WhatsApp@ofo.ca. Please consider that groups that share information about birds that are secret or “invite only” do not benefit the greater birding community and may be harmful for encouraging growth and inclusion in our hobby. Any individual can invite another individual to the community.

Groups are run and managed by individuals and not directly affiliated with OFO – the community is just a way to connect people and groups together, making it easy for people to find each other. OFO reserves the right to remove individuals or groups from the community. The OFO Code of Conduct is a central piece of this. If you have any concerns with something you see in a WhatsApp group in the OFO Community please contact an OFO Board member with your concerns.

Ready to join the community? Use this link: https://chat.whatsapp.com/K7wYn5U6ZkkHoFQA6SgfEK (note that members of groups within the community are automatically members of the community).


Bottom bird with Lesser Yellowlegs
Photo: Brandon Holden

Long-tailed Duck
Photo: Sam Barone

Red-headed Woodpecker
Photo: Barry Cherriere

Harris's Sparrow
Photo: Peter Tamas

Harlequin Duck
Photo: Jean Iron

Least Flycatcher
Photo: Brandon Holden

Least Bittern
Photo: Mike Veltri

American Goldfinch
Photo: Daniel Cadieux

Photo: Max Skwarna

Black-crowned Night-Heron
Photo: Richard Dubiel

Blue Jay
Photo: Mark Peck

Louisiana Waterthrush
Photo: Lev Frid