OFO's Birding at Home Challenge

Welcome to OFO's Birding at Home Challenge

OFO is excited to announce OFO's Birding at Home Challenge!

This fun initiative will give you the opportunity to bird while doing your part by staying home during these extraordinary times. Birders of Ontario -- we want to help you discover the rewards of birding from your yard, balcony or even your window!

Staying close to home does not mean that you have to miss spring migration. While you may not be able to visit your usual hotspots this spring, you can take this opportunity to enjoy the birds around you. You might be surprised at how rewarding an experience it is. And, by recording your observations in eBird Canada you will be making an immense contribution to the understanding of birds in Ontario.

Yard Checklists are Valuable Scientific Data

Yard checklists are among some of the most valuable eBird checklists because they are repeated (sometimes several times per day) and cover a relatively small area and duration.

In normal years, there is a flood of data from a few key birding locations during migration but many other areas are under-reported. This year, we hope to see data from across the landscape unlike ever before. It will offer scientists an unparalleled opportunity to get a picture of bird migration across our province, rather than just at the key sites. Read more about the eBirding your yard checklist at eBird Canada.

How the Challenge Works

Anyone interested in birds is welcome to enter the Birding at Home Challenge - you do not need to be an experienced birder or a member of OFO to join in the fun. However, only birders based in Ontario will be eligible for prizes.

The challenge runs from April 26th to May 31st.

To participate, register for the challenge, and then register your home location as a yard at eBird Canada. Then all you need to do is submit checklists of all the birds observed at your home into the eBird Canada database.

Participants will have a chance to win great weekly prizes and two grand prizes, the first to be on World Migratory Bird Day on May 9th and the second to be awarded at the end of the challenge on May 31st.


OFO's Birding at Home Challenge requires you to register your yard on eBird. We understand that there may be some privacy concerns for some, and it just won't be possible for everyone to enter the challenge.

Registration is a three-step process.

For more information, see these detailed instructions.

Participating in the Challenge

Once you have registered your yard in eBird, go ahead and submit checklists of birds you observe at your home. Submit as many checklists as you like -- the more observations recorded, the better for science.


Weekly Prizes

Each Sunday night until May 31st, we'll award a weekly prize by drawing randomly from qualifying eBird Yard Checklists submitted the previous week up to Sunday at 6:00pm. To be eligible, you must submit at least one checklist of at least ten minutes in duration.

Weekly prizes will include OFO merchandise, Art by Peleegirl and copies of the books Best Places to Bird in Ontario by Michael and Kenneth Burrell.

World Migratory Bird Day Grand Prize

In honour of World Migratory Bird Day on May 9th, we'll randomly select a grand prize winner from those who have entered at least ten qualifying eBird checklists.

The prize will include a pair of Vortex Binoculars, an OFO Membership and other prizes to be determined.

Challenge Finish Grand Prize

At the end of the challenge on May 31st, a winner will be randomly selected from participants who have submitted at least 20 qualifying eBird checklists.

The prize will include an annual Point Pelee National Park pass an OFO Membership, a copy of the book Field Guide to the Flower Flies of Northeastern North America by Jeff Skevington, and other prizes to be determined.

Bonus Prize

If you submit at least twenty complete yard checklists in April, you'll also be entered into the draw for the eBirder of the month contest.

Connect on Social Media

We welcome you to post your thoughts, pictures and questions on the OFO Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OntarioFieldOrnithologists. Please use the hashtag #birdingathome or #ofobirdingathome.

If posting on Instagram, refer to the challenge using @ofobirds as well as the hashtags above.

Search Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for #birdingathome or #ofobirdingathome posts and images.

Thank you to our Supporters

We want to thank the following prize donors for their generous contributions.


Please email home@ofo.ca if you have any questions or comments.

Important Reminder

Please remember during the COVID-19 pandemic, all Ontario birders should be taking extra precautions right now and following local, provincial, and federal regulations to stay at home and avoid all non-essential travel.

American Goldfinch American Goldfinch Barry Cherriere

Downy Woodpecker Downy Woodpecker Carol Horner

Blue Jay Blue Jay Saman T-Baduge

Black-capped Chickadee Black-capped Chickadee Homer Caliwag

American Robin American Robin Brandon Holden

Northern Cardinal Northern Cardinal Frank and Sandra Horvath

Rose-breasted Grosbeak Rose-breasted Grosbeak Sandra and Frank Horvath