The Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario

On Monday night I reported to the club that there had been an interesting article about The Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario. It appeared in The Toronto Star, January 20. These are a few of the points made in the article.

Grassland birds seem to be the most threatened. This is probably because of urbanization, the space taken by new or expanded roads and the mysterious reduction of flying insects which may in part be due to climate change. To compound the problem, less natural habitat will survive if more corn is produced for ethanol. Nighthawks, whippoorwill, chimney swift and six types of swallows have declined in number from 30 to 50 percent over the past twenty years. Large raptors are expanding due to the ban of DDT in the 1970s which has resulted in a “purification” of the aquatic food chain. Bald Eagles have increased 400 percent, even more so in the south. Ontario’s most populous species is the Magnolia warbler with 15 million birds. It breeds in the boreal forest to the north and the Hudson Bay Lowland thus being less apparent to we in cottage country. Eight of the most populous birds breed in the north while 10 million robins and the ubiquitous red-eyed vireo live mostly in the south.

Top Ten Birds on the rise:


  • Canada goose
  • House finch
  • Blue-headed vireo
  • Turkey vulture
  • Wild turkey
  • Merlin
  • Eastern bluebird
  • Pine warbler
  • Bald eagle
  • Sandhill crane


Top Ten Birds in decline:


  • Common nighthawk
  • Chimney swift
  • Blue-winged teal
  • Red-headed woodpecker
  • Barn swallow
  • Cliff swallow
  • Brown-headed cowbird
  • Spotted sandpiper
  • Killdeer


Brian Markle KFN member