Ontario Winter Bird List

For the last several winters I have been keeping track of the winter bird list for Ontario. The late Blake Maybank originally asked me if I could compile the Ontario winter bird list back in  the autumn of 2011. Others were compiling winter lists for their respective provinces, and Blake hosted the results on his website. In recent years I have changed the format to a Google spreadsheet as it is easy to use and update quickly. The spreadsheet can be viewed here.

The "winter birding season" covers the months of December, January and February. Keeping track of winter lists is a tradition that goes back many years. During the winter doldrums it can be hard for birders to keep motivated to go out and look for birds. Keeping an annual winter list, or a life winter list can act as motivation to get you out the door on those chilly mornings. The idea of a winter bird list has taken off throughout Canada, and quite a few birders now keep one.




Generally between 200 and 220 species are reported each winter season. Often the first two weeks will dictate what the final list will look like, as this is the time when unusual species are lingering in the province before the weather becomes too harsh. Very few species are added to the cumulative list in January and February. The highest single winter total occurred during the winter of 2011-2012 when 223 species were reported.

As far as I can discern, there have been 347 bird species seen in Ontario between the dates of December 1 and February 28/29 throughout the years. All of the species that have occurred in Ontario during the winter period can be found in the spreadsheet. If someone notices an error, whether that be an error in this winter's list or in the all time list, please send me an email and I will be greatly appreciative.

Good (winter) birding!

American Three-toed Woodpecker - south of Timmins, Ontario

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