History and Timeline


August Jim Richards discussed with Jim Baillie the idea of an Ontario birding journal and an Ontario Ornithological Society.


Founding Year
15 May A Steering Committee of Bill Crins, Verne Evans, Ron Ridout, Chip Weseloh met at Point Pelee to initiate preparations for the founding of a new group to be called the Ontario Field Ornithologists.
October OFO’s journal will be titled Ontario Birds; the membership fee is set at $10, plus, until year end, a founding life membership fee of $50.
13/14 November First Annual General Meeting is held at Aldershot High School, Burlington Speakers: Richard Knapton on Sparrow Identification; Ron Tozer on Algonquin Park Christmas Bird Count; Ron Ridout on Niagara River birding.
First OFO Field Trips are held.
Membership at the end of the weekend: 36 life, 31 annual.


February First OFO Newsletter, with a Little Gull logo, is edited by Don Fraser.
April First Ontario Birds issue published, edited by Chip and Linda Weseloh.
14/15 May First Spring Field Meeting is held at Point Pelee; other field trips follow later in the year.
July The OFO Constitution is published in the July issue of OFO Newsletter.
22/23 October Second Annual General Meeting is held at Althouse College, University of Western Ontario. Speakers: Bruce Duncan on Identification of Raptors
December Membership is 421, with 105 life and 316 annual members.


March OFO receives grant of $1000 from WWF for Great Gray Owl irruption study.
April “Checklist of Birds of Ontario” in Ontario Birds.
12/13 May Spring field meeting; 15 members did Birdathon and raised almost $4000.
June First OFO brochure printed at a cost of $30 for 1000.
27/28 October Third Annual General Meeting held at the McLaughlin Planetarium, ROM; Speakers: Mary Gartshore on Birds of Cameroon’s Mountain Forest; Jim Rising on Hybridization of Birds in the Great Plains.
Annual membership fee for 1985 raised to $13.


January A membership directory is available to members for $2.
February OFO Newsletter, issue #5, by new editor Geoff Carpentier.
11/12 May Spring meeting, Point Pelee.
26/27 October Fourth Annual General Meeting held at Mimico High School; Speakers: Dan Strickland on Gray Jays; Ron Scovell, A Tropical Travelogue; Will Clark on the Pembroke Swallow Roost; Mike Cadman on the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas.
In 1986, Don Fraser will become editor of Ontario Birds.
November Membership is 478, with 115 life and 363 annual.


31 May/1 June Spring meeting at Presqu’ile Provincial Park: OFO T-shirts in grey with black/white graphics of three Little Gulls on sale at $10.
October Membership fee for 1987 will be $17 annual, $340 life; total membership is over 500.
25/26 October Fifth Annual General Meeting held at Scarborough Civic Centre; first book sale held.
Speakers: Dr Guy Morrison on Shorebirds – the Ultimate Migrant; Mary Gartshore on the Status of Carolinian Birds in Southwestern Ontario; Ron Ridout on Costa Rica – a Natural History Perspective.
17 December Letters Patent for Incorporation received.


January Charitable Status received, effective 1 January; 515 memberships at end of 1986.
5-7 June Spring meeting at Turkey Point Provincial Park.
24-25 October Sixth Annual General Meeting held at the School of Agriculture, Niagara Falls. Speakers: George Wallace on Birds of Southern Chile and the Antarctic; Ian Jones on Birds of the Pribilof Islands.
November At the Board meeting, it is suggested that “OFO needs to heighten its status so it becomes the provincial authority on ornithology”.


January Membership is 574, with 111 life and 463 annual.
4/5 June Spring meeting held at Wye Marsh.
15/16 October Seventh Annual General Meeting held at the Scarborough Civic Centre. Speakers: Dr. Ian Kirkham on Field Identification and Feeding Habits of Medium-sized Terns; Brian Henshaw on Birding in the Gambia


OFO writing to Ministry of Environment supporting ban on hunting in Point Pelee.
May Membership fee for 1990 raised to $20 with new category of family at 1½ times single.
June MNR invites OFO to partner in a 3-year study of wildlife habitat and use of Hudson and James Bays.
28/29 October Eighth Annual Meeting held at the Scarborough Civic Centre. Speakers: Bruce Duncan and Barry Cherriere on Hawk Identification in Ontario; John Keenleyside on Birding in Antarctica.


May membership is now 446 including 112 life.
September OFO Board meets with co-editors of Ornithology in Ontario to discuss publication issues.
20/21 October Ninth Annual General Meeting held at Erindale College, Mississauga.


February Bill Crins, Ron Pittaway and Ron Tozer agree to be joint editors of Ontario Birds.
April Further progress toward publication of Ornithology in Ontario.
May Spring meetings, held annually since 1983, are cancelled because of declining interest.
19/20 October Tenth Annual General Meeting held at Erindale College, Mississauga. Speakers: David Brewer on Field Identification of North American Sparrows; Peter Hamel on Birding in the Queen Charlotte Islands of B.C.


February Huge turnout of over 90 people for the Petroglyph field trip.
June Over 60 people are present at the Algonquin field trip; membership totals 461 with 108 life and 353 annual.
September 65-70 naturalist clubs have been sent information about OFO.
17/18 October Eleventh Annual General Meeting held at Erindale College, Mississauga. Speakers: Ron Tasker on New Guinea Birding; Ron Pittaway on Ontario’s Recognizable Bird Forms.
November Slight change in membership fee: family $25.


January Membership is about 500.
August Ontario Birds has first paid advertisement in August issue – Swarovski takes full back cover.
October Change in membership fee for 1994: $22 for single, $27.50 for family.
16/17 October Twelfth Annual General Meeting held at Erindale College, Mississauga. Speakers: Richard Knapton on Ducks, Mud and Mussels; Mike Runtz on Algonquin Park and Its Inhabitants.
December Publication of Ornithology in Ontario now set for 1994 launch.


January Currently 498 members; membership cards will be discontinued.
February Ornithology in Ontario is published, 1000 copies printed; OFO Newsletter renamed OFO News, now edited by Jean Iron.
April With input from membership, the Pileated Woodpecker is approved as OFO’s new logo.
June Ornithology in Ontario sales pass break-even point.
September 1994 Field Checklist of Birds is available.< br> October: OFO Code of Ethics published in October issue of OFO News.
15/16 October Thirteenth Annual General Meeting held at Nobleton Community Hall; first Certificate of Appreciation awarded. Speakers: Bob Curry on Retrospective on Ontario Rarities; Doug McRae on Shorebirds; Gerry Bennett on Reminiscences of the Old Days of Birding.


April 601 annual and life memberships, “probably a record high”.
September OFO suggests that Point Pelee Visitor Centre use our Code of Ethics .
14/15 October Fourteenth Annual General Meeting held at Nobleton Community Hall.
Speakers: George Peck on the Ontario Nests Record Scheme; Ron Scovell on The Natural Beauty of North American Bird Watching Locales.
November OFO participates with TOC/Birder’s Journal in a presentation on warblers by Jon Dunn, 290 attend.
December OFO Board gives go-ahead for an Internet website as recommended by report on benefits, contents, users.


February first issue of OFO News to use new Pileated Woodpecker head as logo.
July 14 OFO homepage on Internet goes live; much positive feedback from across Canada.
August Ontario Birds-first use of colour in cover title; an index to the first 15 volumes is in preparation.
19/20 October Fifteenth Annual General Meeting held at Canada Centre for Inland Waters, Burlington. Speakers: Henri Ouellet on Bicknell’s and Catharus Thrushes: Identification and Taxonomy; Bruce Di Labio on the World Series of Birding.
November Total membership now 739.


March 1997 Field Checklist of Ontario Birds now ready; a copy will be sent free to each member.
April Distinguished Ornithologist Award for “long standing and unique contributors to ornithology in Ontario” is established; Earl Godfrey will be first recipient.
18/19 October Sixteenth Annual General Meeting held at Canada Centre for Inland Waters, Burlington. Speakers: Chip Weseloh on Colonial Waterbirds of Georgian Bay; Ron Tozer on Birds of Algonquin.
November Membership is now 798.


March Ross James nominated for Distinguished Ornithologist Award for 1998.
June OFO Board discusses future use of colour in Ontario Birds.
September New OFO sales items available.
17/18 October Seventeenth Annual General Meeting held at Canada Centre for Inland Waters, Burlington. Speakers: Ken Abraham on Ontario Geese; Bruce Mactavish on Gull Identification.
November Membership over 800; recently launched OFO listserv a great success.


March 1999 Field Checklist of Ontario Birds at printer.
June New Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas underway; OFO will play a major role as one of several sponsors. Website over 1800 hits in last 2 months.
2/3 October Eighteenth Annual General Meeting held at Point Pelee. Speaker: Tom Hince on The Birds of Point Pelee.
November Memberships hit all time high of 910; OFO invited to participate in Americas-wide committee to prepare a shorebird conservation plan.


April Ontario Birds first colour illustrations, in April issue.
16/17 September Nineteenth Annual General Meeting held at the Kortright Centre. Speaker is Mike Cadman on the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas.
Distinguished Ornithologist is Dr. Murray Speirs.
December Agreement is in place with Canada Post for Publications Mail rates; memberships now 1001.


February George Peck nominated for Distinguished Ornithologist Award for 2001; memberships now 1048.
29/30 September Twentieth Annual General Meeting held at Point Pelee.
Speaker is Alan Wormington on Bird Migration across the Gulf of Mexico; Allen Chartier on Hawk Migration and Accipiter ID.
Distinguished Ornithologist is
November Website content expanded, with history of OBRC documented; OBRC hopes to computerize its database; Bruce Falls nominated for Distinguished Ornithologist Award for 2002.


January Now 1061 memberships; new Website about to be launched, www.ofo.ca.
March OFO Ontario Bird Checklist 2002 published; change in membership fees: annual fee will be $25, family category dropped; new photos being added to website; ONTBIRDS, with 1275 subscribers, “may be largest birding listserv in the world!”.
28-29 September Twenty-first Annual Convention held at Kingston.
Speaker is Paul Mackenzie on Birds of Kingston; Bruce Di Labio on Birds of Amherst Island Distinguished Ornithologist is


January Website new photo page a great success.
Ontario Birds page includes image of cover of each colour issue; Bob Curry nominated for Distinguished Ornithologist Award for 2003.
March Carden Alvar Project: OFO will have a representative on its Management Board; OFO has more volunteers working on the Breeding Bird Atlas than any other organization.
20/21 September Twenty-second Annual Convention held at Point Pelee.
Speaker is Ethan Meleg on The Art of Bird Photography.
Distinguished Ornithologist is
October Jim Rising is nominated for Distinguished Ornithologist Award for 2004.


January Memberships now total 1022, with 120 life.
February Ontario Bird Checklist 2004 mailed with OFO News.
September OFO one of legal partners in the stewardship team for Carden Alvar property.
2/3 October Twenty-third Annual Convention held at Oakville; Certificate of Appreciation presented to Jean Iron for twelve years of service to OFO Board, including past nine years as President.
Speaker is Bruce Mactavish on Newfoundland Birds: Land, Sea and Vagrants .
Distinguished Ornithologist is Jim Rising
November Ron Pittaway is nominated for Distinguished Ornithologist Award for 2005.


January Continuing participation in Carden Alvar Project, Partners in Flight, the Ontario Breeding Birds Atlas, Shorebirds conservation project.
April index to OFO News has been mounted on Website.
10/11 September Twenty-fourth Annual Convention held at Point Pelee; largest attendance ever: 205.
Speaker is Allen Chartier on Great Lakes HummerNet.
Distinguished Ornithologist is Ron Pittaway
December Website has nearly 2 million hits during 2005; present Ontario Birds editors will be retiring at end of 2006.


January New website design. Ontario Bird Checklist 2006 published.
June ONTBIRDS has almost 2000 subscribers.
30 September/1 October Twenty-fifth Annual Convention held at Ottawa. Speaker is
Distinguished Ornithologist is Ken Abraham
December Total memberships now 1047, including 113 new members since January; December issue of Ontario Birds is the last to be edited by long-time editors, Bill Crins, Ron Pittaway, and Ron Tozer .


25th Anniversary February There will be 26 field trips for 2007; 25th Anniversary decals will be sent to members.
April first issue of Ontario Birds under new editors, Glenn Coady, Ross James, and Chip Weseloh.
13/14 October Twenty-sixth Annual Convention held at Point Pelee; Celebration of 25 years of OFO.
Speaker is Guy Morrison on Hemispheric Travellers: Shorebirds and their Lifestyles.
Distinguished Ornithologist is Mike Cadman


4-5 October Twenty-seventh Annual Convention held at Hamilton.
Speaker is Donald Kroodsma on The Singing Life of Birds.
Distinguished Ornithologist is Harry Lumsden


3-4 October Twenty-eighth Annual Convention held at Point Pelee.
Speaker is Jim Duncan on Global Variation of the Natural History of the Great Gray Owl
Distinguished Ornithologist is Ron Tozer


25-26 September Twenty-ninth Annual Convention held at Long Point.
Speaker is Dr. Bridget Stutchbury on Tracking Songbirds.
Distinguished Ornithologists are Erica Dunn and David Hussell


May Joomla based on-line membership system introduced.
17-18 September Thirtieth Annual Convention held at Point Pelee.
Speaker is Mark Peck on A Brief Birding History of the Hudson Bay Lowlands.
Distinguished Ornithologist is David Brewer


January There will be 57 field trips including convention outings.
14-16 September Thirty-first Annual Convention held at Presqu’ile Provincial Park and Prince Edward County
Speaker is Mike Runtz on Why We Bird – The Truth Behind Our Addiction to Birds.
Distinguished Ornithologist is Jim Richards.
Friday Birds and Beers introduced
Friday: Forest birds, Shorebirds – Bill Gilmour, Doug McRae


January There will be 67 field trips including convention outings.
February Back issues of Newsletter and Ontario Birds added to website.
27-29 September Thirty-second Annual Convention held at Point Pelee.
Speaker is Greg Miller, The Big Year.
Distinguished Ornithologist Jon McCracken
Friday: Who wants to be a Millionaire – birds, Sarah Rupert


January There will be 78 field trips including convention outings.
February New photo section on website managed entirely by Photo editors.
27-29 September Thirty-third Annual Convention held at Ottawa.
Speaker is Chris Earley, The Bird Teacher: How Birds are Nature’s Ambassadors.
Distinguished Ornithologist Clive Goodwin
Friday: Bruce di Labio: Ottawa Birds, Sarah Rupert: Birding Jeopardy
November First Board retreat to discuss OFO direction.
First Gull Identification Workshop held in Niagara Falls.


February New WildApricot membership system comes live on the website.
2-4 October Thirty-fourth Annual Convention held in Point Pelee.
Speaker is David Bird, How Birds do it.
Distinguished Ornithologist is D.V. (Chip) Wesloh
Friday: David Bird: Drones, Sarah Rupert: Birding Jeopardy


23-25 September Thirty-fifth Annual Convention held in Kingston.
Speaker is Mike Burrell, eBird.
Distinguished Ornithologist is Jean Iron

Friday: Forest birds, Shorebirds – Bill Gilmour, Doug McRae; Sarah Rupert: Birding Jeopardy


22-24 September Thirty-sixth Annual Convention held in Long Point.
Speaker is Stephen Price, 100 years of the Migratory Birds Act.
Distinguished Ornithologist is Dan Strickland.

Friday: Sarah Rupert: Birding Jeopardy


28-30 September Thirty-seventh Annual Convention held in Point Pelee.
Speaker: Tom Hince, professional birding guide, author and photographer. Point Pelee: The park that birds built.
Distinguished Ornithologist is Alan Wormington (posthumous)
Friday: 100 Years of Conservation and Community: Point Pelee NP
Breaking Birding Boundaries: My Ontario Big Year: Jeremy Bensette
Birding Challenge Quiz: Sarah Rupert


27-29 September Thirty-eighth Annual Convention will be held in Hamilton.


Iceland Gull
Photo: Iain Fleming

Mourning Dove
Nest with Chicks
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath

Hairy Woodpecker
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath

Eastern Whip-poor-will
Photo: Mike McEvoy

White-breasted Nuthatch
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath

European Starling
Photo: Francine Ouellette

Black Scoter
Photo: Barry Cherriere

Red-breasted Nuthatch
Photo: Barry Cherriere

Green Heron
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath

Mourning Dove
Photo: Daniel Cadieux

Ruffed Grouse
Photo: Barry Cherriere

Kirtland's Warbler
Photo: Gary Houghton

Stilt Sandpiper
Photo: Jean Iron

Photo: Carol Horner

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Photo: Karl and Marienna Egressy

Barn Swallow
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Blackburnian Warbler
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Hooded Warbler
Photo: Tom Thomas

Common Eider
Photo: Barry Cherriere

Black-throated Blue Warbler
Photo: Sam Barone