History and Timeline


August, Jim Richards discussed with Jim Baillie the idea of an Ontario birding journal and an Ontario Ornithological Society.

1982 - Founding Year

15 May: A Steering Committee of Bill Crins, Verne Evans, Ron Ridout, Chip Weseloh met at Point Pelee to initiate preparations for the founding of a new group to be called the Ontario Field Ornithologists.
October: OFO’s journal will be titled Ontario Birds; the membership fee is set at $10, plus, until year end, a founding life membership fee of $50.
13/14 November: First Annual General Meeting is held at Aldershot High School, Burlington
Speakers: Richard Knapton on Sparrow Identification; Ron Tozer on Algonquin Park Christmas Bird Count; Ron Ridout on Niagara River birding;
First OFO Field Trips are held;
membership at the end of the weekend: 36 life, 31 annual.


February: First OFO Newsletter, with a Little Gull logo, is edited by Don Fraser.
April: First Ontario Birds issue published, edited by Chip and Linda Weseloh.
14/15 May: First Spring Field Meeting is held at Point Pelee; other field trips follow later in the year.
July: The OFO Constitution is published in the July issue of OFO Newsletter.
22/23 October: Second Annual General Meeting is held at Althouse College, University of Western Ontario.
Speakers: Bruce Duncan on Identification of Raptors
December: Membership is 421, with 105 life and 316 annual members.


March: OFO receives grant of $1000. from WWF for Great Gray Owl irruption study.
April: "Checklist of Birds of Ontario" in Ontario Birds.
12/13 May: Spring field meeting; 15 members did Birdathon and raised almost $4000.
June: First OFO brochure printed at a cost of $30 for 1000.
27/28 October: Third Annual General Meeting held at the McLaughlin Planetarium, ROM;
Speakers: Mary Gartshore on Birds of Cameroon’s Mountain Forest; Jim Rising on Hybridization of Birds in the Great Plains
Annual membership fee for 1985 raised to $13.


January: A membership directory is available to members for $2.
February: OFO Newsletter, issue #5, by new editor Geoff Carpentier.
11/12 May: Spring meeting, Point Pelee.
26/27 October: Fourth Annual General Meeting held at Mimico High School;
Speakers: Dan Strickland on Gray Jays; Ron Scovell, A Tropical Travelogue; Will Clark on the Pembroke Swallow Roost; Mike Cadman on the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas
In 1986, Don Fraser will become editor of Ontario Birds.
November: Membership is 478, with 115 life and 363 annual.


31 May/1 June: Spring meeting at Presqu'ile Provincial Park: OFO T-shirts in grey with black/white graphics of three Little Gulls on sale at $10.
October: Membership fee for 1987 will be $17 annual, $340 life; total membership is over 500.
25/26 October: Fifth Annual General Meeting held at Scarborough Civic Centre; first book sale held.
Speakers: Dr Guy Morrison on Shorebirds – the Ultimate Migrant; Mary Gartshore on the Status of Carolinian Birds in Southwestern Ontario; Ron Ridout on Costa Rica – a Natural History Perspective
17 December: Letters Patent for Incorporation received.


January: Charitable Status received, effective 1 January; 515 memberships at end of 1986.
5-7 June: Spring meeting at Turkey Point Provincial Park.
24-25 October: Sixth Annual General Meeting held at the School of Agriculture, Niagara Falls.
Speakers: George Wallace on Birds of Southern Chile and the Antarctic; Ian Jones on Birds of the Pribilof Islands
November: At the Board meeting, it is suggested that “OFO needs to heighten its status so it becomes the provincial authority on ornithology”.


January: Membership is 574, with 111 life and 463 annual.
4/5 June: Spring meeting held at Wye Marsh.
15/16 October: Seventh Annual General Meeting held at the Scarborough Civic Centre.
Speakers: Dr. Ian Kirkham on Field Identification and Feeding Habits of Medium-sized Terns; Brian Henshaw on Birding in the Gambia


OFO writing to Ministry of Environment supporting ban on hunting in Point Pelee.
May: Membership fee for 1990 raised to $20 with new category of family at 1½ times single.
June: MNR invites OFO to partner in a 3-year study of wildlife habitat and use of Hudson and James Bays.
28/29 October: Eighth Annual Meeting held at the Scarborough Civic Centre.
Speakers: Bruce Duncan and Barry Cherriere on Hawk Identification in Ontario; John Keenleyside on Birding in Antarctica


May: membership is now 446 including 112 life.
September: OFO Board meets with co-editors of Ornithology in Ontario to discuss publication issues.
20/21 October: Ninth Annual General Meeting held at Erindale College, Mississauga.


February: Bill Crins, Ron Pittaway and Ron Tozer agree to be joint editors of Ontario Birds.
April: Further progress toward publication of Ornithology in Ontario.
May: Spring meetings, held annually since 1983, are cancelled because of declining interest.
19/20 October: Tenth Annual General Meeting held at Erindale College, Mississauga.
Speakers: David Brewer on Field Identification of North American Sparrows; Peter Hamel on Birding in the Queen Charlotte Islands of B.C.


February: Huge turnout of over 90 people for the Petroglyph field trip.
June: Over 60 people are present at the Algonquin field trip; membership totals 461 with 108 life and 353 annual.
September: 65-70 naturalist clubs have been sent information about OFO.
17/18 October: Eleventh Annual General Meeting held at Erindale College, Mississauga.
Speakers: Ron Tasker on New Guinea Birding; Ron Pittaway on Ontario’s Recognizable Bird Forms
November: Slight change in membership fee: family $25.


January: Membership is about 500.
August: Ontario Birds has first paid advertisement in August issue - Swarovski takes full back cover.
October: Change in membership fee for 1994: $22 for single, $27.50 for family.
16/17 October: Twelfth Annual General Meeting held at Erindale College, Mississauga.
Speakers: Richard Knapton on Ducks, Mud and Mussels; Mike Runtz on Algonquin Park and Its Inhabitants
December: Publication of Ornithology in Ontario now set for 1994 launch.


January: Currently 498 members; membership cards will be discontinued.
February: Ornithology in Ontario is published, 1000 copies printed; OFO Newsletter renamed OFO News, now edited by Jean Iron.
April: With input from membership, the Pileated Woodpecker is approved as OFO’s new logo.
June: Ornithology in Ontario sales pass break-even point.
September: 1994 Field Checklist of Birds is available.< br> October: OFO Code of Ethics published in October issue of OFO News.
15/16 October: Thirteenth Annual General Meeting held at Nobleton Community Hall; first Certificate of Appreciation awarded.
Speakers: Bob Curry on Retrospective on Ontario Rarities; Doug McRae on Shorebirds; Gerry Bennett on Reminiscences of the Old Days of Birding


April: 601 annual and life memberships, "probably a record high".
September: OFO suggests that Point Pelee Visitor Centre use our Code of Ethics .
14/15 October: Fourteenth Annual General Meeting held at Nobleton Community Hall.
Speakers: George Peck on the Ontario Nests Record Scheme; Ron Scovell on The Natural Beauty of North American Bird Watching Locales
November: OFO participates with TOC/Birder's Journal in a presentation on warblers by Jon Dunn, 290 attend.
December: OFO Board gives go-ahead for an Internet website as recommended by report on benefits, contents, users.


February: first issue of OFO News to use new Pileated Woodpecker head as logo.
July 14: OFO homepage on Internet goes live; much positive feedback from across Canada.
August: Ontario Birds-first use of colour in cover title; an index to the first 15 volumes is in preparation.
19/20 October: Fifteenth Annual General Meeting held at Canada Centre for Inland Waters, Burlington.
Speakers: Henri Ouellet on Bicknell’s and Catharus Thrushes: Identification and Taxonomy; Bruce Di Labio on the World Series of Birding
November: Total membership now 739.


March: 1997 Field Checklist of Ontario Birds now ready; a copy will be sent free to each member.
April: Distinguished Ornithologist Award for “long standing and unique contributors to ornithology in Ontario” is established; Earl Godfrey will be first recipient.
18/19 October: Sixteenth Annual General Meeting held at Canada Centre for Inland Waters, Burlington.
Speakers: Chip Weseloh on Colonial Waterbirds of Georgian Bay; Ron Tozer on Birds of Algonquin
November: Membership is now 798.


March: Ross James nominated for Distinguished Ornithologist Award for 1998.
June: OFO Board discusses future use of colour in Ontario Birds.
September: New OFO sales items available.
17/18 October: Seventeenth Annual General Meeting held at Canada Centre for Inland Waters, Burlington.
Speakers: Ken Abraham on Ontario Geese; Bruce Mactavish on Gull Identification
November: Membership over 800; recently launched OFO listserv a great success.


March: 1999 Field Checklist of Ontario Birds at printer.
June: New Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas underway; OFO will play a major role as one of several sponsors.
Website: over 1800 hits in last 2 months.
2/3 October: Eighteenth Annual General Meeting held at Point Pelee.
Speaker: Tom Hince on The Birds of Point Pelee
November: Memberships hit all time high of 910; OFO invited to participate in Americas-wide committee to prepare a shorebird conservation plan.


April: Ontario Birds first colour illustrations, in April issue.
16/17 September: Nineteenth Annual General Meeting held at the Kortright Centre.
Speaker is Mike Cadman on the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas
Distinguished Ornithologist is Dr. Murray Speirs. December: Agreement is in place with Canada Post for Publications Mail rates; memberships now 1001.


February: George Peck nominated for Distinguished Ornithologist Award for 2001; memberships now 1048.
29/30 September: Twentieth Annual General Meeting held at Point Pelee.
Speaker is Alan Wormington on Bird Migration across the Gulf of Mexico; Allen Chartier on Hawk Migration and Accipiter ID
Distinguished Ornithologist is November: Website content expanded, with history of OBRC documented; OBRC hopes to computerize its database; Bruce Falls nominated for Distinguished Ornithologist Award for 2002.


January: Now 1061 memberships; new Website about to be launched, www.ofo.ca.
March: OFO Ontario Bird Checklist 2002 published; change in membership fees: annual fee will be $25, family category dropped; new photos being added to website; ONTBIRDS, with 1275 subscribers, “may be largest birding listserv in the world!”.
28-29 September: Twenty-first Annual Convention held at Kingston.
Speaker is Paul Mackenzie on Birds of Kingston; Bruce Di Labio on Birds of Amherst Island
Distinguished Ornithologist is


January: Website new photo page a great success.
Ontario Birds page includes image of cover of each colour issue; Bob Curry nominated for Distinguished Ornithologist Award for 2003.
March: Carden Alvar Project: OFO will have a representative on its Management Board; OFO has more volunteers working on the Breeding Bird Atlas than any other organization.
20/21 September: Twenty-second Annual Convention held at Point Pelee.
Speaker is Ethan Meleg on The Art of Bird Photography
Distinguished Ornithologist is
October: Jim Rising is nominated for Distinguished Ornithologist Award for 2004.


January: Memberships now total 1022, with 120 life.
February: Ontario Bird Checklist 2004 mailed with OFO News.
September: OFO one of legal partners in the stewardship team for Carden Alvar property.
2/3 October: Twenty-third Annual Convention held at Oakville; Certificate of Appreciation presented to Jean Iron for twelve years of service to OFO Board, including past nine years as President.
Speaker is Bruce Mactavish on Newfoundland Birds: Land, Sea and Vagrants
Distinguished Ornithologist is
November: Ron Pittaway is nominated for Distinguished Ornithologist Award for 2005.


January: Continuing participation in Carden Alvar Project, Partners in Flight, the Ontario Breeding Birds Atlas, Shorebirds conservation project.
April: index to OFO News has been mounted on Website.
10/11 September: Twenty-fourth Annual Convention held at Point Pelee; largest attendance ever: 205.
Speaker is Allen Chartier on Great Lakes HummerNet
Distinguished Ornithologist is Ron Pittaway
December: Website has nearly 2 million hits during 2005; present Ontario Birds editors will be retiring at end of 2006.


January: New website design. Ontario Bird Checklist 2006 published.
June: ONTBIRDS has almost 2000 subscribers.
30 September/1 October: Twenty-fifth Annual Convention held at Ottawa.
Speaker is
Distinguished Ornithologist is Ken Abraham
December: Total memberships now 1047, including 113 new members since January; December issue of Ontario Birds is the last to be edited by long-time editors, Bill Crins, Ron Pittaway, and Ron Tozer .

2007 - 25th Anniversary Year

February: There will be 26 field trips for 2007; 25th Anniversary decals will be sent to members.
April: first issue of Ontario Birds under new editors, Glenn Coady, Ross James, and Chip Weseloh.
13/14 October: Twenty-sixth Annual Convention held at Point Pelee; Celebration of 25 years of OFO.
Speaker is Guy Morrison on Hemispheric Travellers: Shorebirds and their Lifestyles
Distinguished Ornithologist is Mike Cadman


4-5 October: Twenty-seventh Annual Convention held at Hamilton.
Speaker is Donald Kroodsma on The Singing Life of Birds
Distinguished Ornithologist is Harry Lumsden


3-4 October: Twenty-eighth Annual Convention held at Point Pelee.
Speaker is Jim Duncan on Global Variation of the Natural History of the Great Gray Owl
Distinguished Ornithologist Ron Tozer


25-26 September: Twenty-ninth Annual Convention held at Long Point.
Speaker is Dr. Bridget Stutchbury on Tracking Songbirds
Distinguished Ornithologists are Erica Dunn and David Hussell


May : Joomla based on-line membership system introduced.
17-18 September : Thirtieth Annual Convention held at Point Pelee.
Speaker is Mark Peck on A Brief Birding History of the Hudson Bay Lowlands
Distinguished Ornithologist David Brewer


January: There will be 57 field trips including convention outings
14-16 September : Thirty-first Annual Convention held at Presqu'ile Provincial Park and Prince Edward County
Speaker is Mike Runtz on Why We Bird - The Truth Behind Our Addiction to Birds
Distinguished Ornithologist is Jim Richards
Friday Birds and Beers introduced
Friday: Forest birds, Shorebirds – Bill Gilmour, Doug McRae


January: There will be 67 field trips including convention outings
February: Back issues of Newsletter and Ontario Birds added to website.
27-29 September : Thirty-second Annual Convention held at Point Pelee.
Speaker is Greg Miller, The Big Year
Distinguished Ornithologist Jon McCracken
Friday: Who wants to be a Millionaire – birds, Sarah Rupert


January: There will be 78 field trips including convention outings
February: New photo section on website managed entirely by Photo editors.
27-29 September : Thirty-third Annual Convention held at Ottawa
Speaker is Chris Earley, The Bird Teacher: How Birds are Nature's Ambassadors
Distinguished Ornithologist Clive Goodwin
Friday: Bruce di Labio: Ottawa Birds, Sarah Rupert: Birding Jeopardy

November: First Board retreat to discuss OFO direction.
November: First Gull Identification Workshop held in Niagara Falls.


February: New WildApricot membership system comes live on the website 2-4 October : Thirty-fourth Annual Convention held in Point Pelee.
Speaker is David Bird, How Birds do it
Distinguished Ornithologist is D.V. (Chip) Wesloh
Friday: David Bird: Drones, Sarah Rupert: Birding Jeopardy


23-25 September : Thirty-fifth Annual Convention held in Kingston.
Speaker is Mike Burrell, eBird
Distinguished Ornithologist is Jean Iron
Friday: Forest birds, Shorebirds – Bill Gilmour, Doug McRae; Sarah Rupert: Birding Jeopardy


22-24 September : Thirty-sixth Annual Convention held in Long Point.
Speaker is Stephen Price, 100 years of the Migratory Birds Act
Distinguished Ornithologist is Dan Strickland
Friday: Sarah Rupert: Birding Jeopardy


September : Thirty-seventh Annual Convention held in Point Pelee.
Speaker TBA
Distinguished Ornithologist is TBA
Friday: TBA


September : Thirty-eight Annual Convention held in Hamilton.
Speaker is TBA
Distinguished Ornithologist is TBA
Friday: TBA

Tricolored Heron
Photo: Barry Cherriere

Tricolored Heron
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Tricolored Heron
Photo: Gabriel Lau Kin Jock

Tricolored Heron
Photo: Carol Horner

Great Blue Heron
Photo: Carol Horner

Black-crowned Night-Heron
Photo: Mark Peck

Green Heron
Photo: Carol Horner

Red-headed Woodpecker
Photo: Sam Barone

Pileated Woodpecker
Photo: Sam Barone

Hairy Woodpecker
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath

Red-headed Woodpecker
Photo: Jean Iron

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Photo: Max Skwarna

Pileated Woodpecker
Photo: Karl Egressy

Red-headed Woodpecker
Photo: Barry Cherriere