Research

Burrell Birding is actively involved in research into many aspects of bird ecology and patterns of distribution and abundance in Ontario. Click here for a list of recent publications, both popular and scientific. Below are a few areas for which we are actively involved in research.

eBird is a worldwide, real-time online checklist program for birders to enter their bird sightings. The data entered are archived and can be explored directly through a variety of eBird output tools (maps, frequency graphs, bar charts, etc.) or can be downloaded in raw format by researchers or conservationists. The data being collected is immense (over 10 million observation in Canada alone by 2014) and provide an incredible tool for studying changing patterns of bird distribution and abundance. Burrell Birding is involved with the data quality process in Ontario and interested in the utility of eBird data for answering all sorts of questions about Ontario birds in a global context.

Reorientation flights, also known as reverse migration, appear to be a common phenomenon observed most notably in spring migration at sandspits on Lake Erie, such as Fish Point, Pelee Island and Point Pelee National Park. Primarily occurring among songbirds, reorientation flights provide identification challenges to observers, as well as glimpses into the wonders of migration and the impacts associated with weather. Burrell Birding has provided the first in-depth analysis of this phenomenon since 1951, and is in the process of publishing novel data on this aspect of bird migration.

Winter raptor areas are critical stop-over habitats known for harbouring large concentrations of wintering raptors (e.g., Rough-legged Hawks and Snowy Owls). These areas are closely linked with agricultural and open country habitats, which have declined at alarming rates. Growing up within minutes of one of the largest raptor concentrations of raptors in Ontario (the Linwood area), Burrell Birding is investigating the impacts of weather on these species, as well as providing baseline data to the Linwood area through winter surveys and organizing the Linwood Christmas Bird Count.

Vagrancy is one of the least understood aspects of bird migration within the realm of ornithology. With impacts associated with climate change increasing, Burrell Birding is playing a key role throughout the Ontario birding scene; particularly with respect to eBird and the Ontario Bird Records Committee.