Newfoundland Breeding Bird Atlas—Citizen Scientists Map the Birds of Newfoundland’s Sustainably Managed Forests
Engaging citizen scientists to deliver the province’s first breeding bird atlas to map the distribution and abundance of all breeding bird species in Newfoundland
Why this Project Matters
Having solid baseline data about the distribution, abundance, and health of bird populations is essential for sound conservation and management decisions. Newfoundland is home to an abundance of waterfowl, waterbirds, land birds, and shorebirds, but much of the island is remote and difficult to access, and consequently information on Newfoundland’s bird populations is largely lacking.
To address this gap, Birds Canada is working to deliver the first Newfoundland Breeding Bird Atlas—a multi‑year project to map the distribution and abundance of all bird species breeding on the island. The Atlas has two main objectives: to establish standardized baselines for the status, distribution, and abundance of breeding bird species; and to increase public engagement and awareness of birds, their habitats, and citizen science. Producing the Atlas allows for the accomplishment of both goals, because much of the data collection is carried out by citizen scientists.
How the Project Is Producing a Breeding Bird Atlas and Carrying Out Targeted Bird Surveys
Surveys will be conducted through a combination of partnerships with government, NGOs, and industry, paid field technicians, and volunteer citizen scientists. The project relies on a three-pronged approach. First, it focuses on encouraging trained citizen scientists to survey forested areas that are relatively easy to access. Second, dedicated field technicians are hired to survey remote areas. Finally, Bird Studies Canada is collaborating with Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, an SFI‑certified company, to train their field technicians to collect Atlas data—either in person, or through the deployment of automated recording units. These units can be programmed to make acoustic recordings at specific times over days or weeks; this acoustic data can be used as a proxy for Atlas surveys in locations that are difficult to access.
The SFI Community Grant Program is supporting this project. SFI will also help to widely disseminate the Atlas so it can be used by government, industry, and conservation organizations to evaluate the success of current management strategies and inform decisions about land management, conservation, and development.
How this Project Builds SFI Community Engagement
Project funding will be used to enhance outreach to Newfoundland’s francophone communities, by completing translation of the Atlas website, and offering a bird identification workshop and Atlas training session in French. These sessions will be recorded and posted online where volunteers can easily access them. The Atlas also provides job and training opportunities in the conservation sector for young women who have been hired, and will continue to be hired, into coordinator and field technician positions. In addition to offering these sessions to staff at Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, the project will also focus on hosting sessions specifically aimed at under-represented communities, such as new immigrants to Newfoundland and Indigenous groups, by collaborating with organizations such as the Association for New Canadians and the Miawpukek First Nation.
This partnership includes conservationists, government officials, and SFI‑certified organizations.
Project lead: Birds Canada
Sustainable forestry Initiative
Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited (SFI‑certified company)
Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service
Together with its members, Birds Canada is Canada’s voice for birds. Its mission is to conserve wild birds through sound science, on-the-ground action, innovative partnerships, public engagement, and science-based advocacy. Birds Canada is a non-profit, charitable organization built on the enthusiastic contributions of thousands of caring members and volunteer citizen scientists. Data and observations collected by citizen scientists, alongside targeted research projects, are used to identify significant bird population changes and help direct conservation planning. Birds Canada’s national headquarters, in Port Rowan, Ontario, is connected to the historic Long Point Bird Observatory, with regional offices from coast to coast. Learn more.