What to do if you find a rare bird?

For Landowners

For Birders

For Landowners: Do you have a rare bird on your property?

Congratulations! Having a rare bird is a very special experience; one that you may never have again.

With proper planning you can share the excitement with a lot of very grateful birders and photographers – OFO is here to help with all aspects involved.

What to do?

Please contact the Ambassador Panel and they will set up a confidential consultation to: * Assist with identification and confirm your rare bird * Make sure it gets documented for the official record * Discuss possible visiting options for birders and photographers * Coordinate the viewing with the team of volunteers

What to expect?

Many birders and photographers may be interested in seeing ”your” bird. This can seem very daunting, but with careful planning this can turn into a very memorable experience while maintaining the bird’s safety and your property. The vast majority of former rare bird hosts cherish their memories of the bird and all of the people who came from far and wide to see it. 

The team of volunteers can be on site whenever birders and photographers are, and can supply a guestbook for you to keep, along with a donation jar. The monies raised can be used however you see fit – past hosts have used it for personal expenses, bird food, or to make a donation to their favourite charity. It’s your decision. Depending on your specific circumstances, organizers may set up a cordoned off area for birders to stick to and/or a set of visitation rules (e.g. restricted days/hours to visit, or even pre-booked time slots). All decisions are ultimately yours and can be amended at any time. 

For Birders: Did you hear about a rare bird?

The overarching goal of OFO’s Rare Bird Ambassador program is to try to facilitate as many rare bird viewing opportunities for the Ontario birding community as possible, all while ensuring positive experiences for the hosts, whether they be private landowners or some other authority (e.g. a conservation authority).

What to do?

If you hear about a rare bird, please contact the Ambassador Panel and they will help you to arrange viewing for Ontario birders or have one of the local Rare Bird Ambassadors do the same. If you are in a position to negotiate access, then please do; the team is happy to offer support and guidance to help you.

Remember not to overwhelm the observer or host – a barrage of emails/messages from excited birders may overwhelm potential hosts. Whether the bird is on private or public property, the Ambassador Panel can help with contacting the proper authority.