Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (2021-2025): special surveys

Project name: Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas

Data Access Policy

Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas

The Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas policy is to encourage staff, volunteers, partners and others outside the organization to publish important findings, based in whole or in part on Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas data, in appropriate publications.  It is also the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas policy that appropriate credit is given to the organization for its contribution(s) to the publication of such findings.

All publication(s) or product(s) using any Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas data are required to adhere to the present policy.

Multiple uses of Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas data.

Unless otherwise arranged, any Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas data are provided to researchers/authors with the clear understanding that it will be used for one specific purpose only (e.g. proposed publication, graduate thesis). If the researchers/authors wish to use the same data for a purpose different from that of the original request, the researchers/authors must re-apply for permission.

Redistribution of the data

Without specific approval, no data provided by the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas can be distributed beyond the researchers/authors requesting the data. Raw data should not be made available for download through the Internet, but derived data (maps, tables) are usually acceptable. If you plan to present data on the Internet, the nature of the visualization(s) must be specified in your data request.

Approval Process

Requests for data at AKN level 3 or 4 must be accompanied by a 1-2 page written proposal outlining the nature and topic of the research, submitted with the data request through the data access portal on NatureCounts. If the proposal is acceptable, Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas staff will approve the data release and inform the researchers/authors. In some cases, the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas will have to consult with partners or clients before data can be released. Release of precise geographic locations of species at risk in particular will generally be restricted and only provided when the need has been clearly demonstrated.

Fee for Data

Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas data accessed through the NatureCounts web site do not normally entail any data processing fees. Requests that require additional manual data extractions or analyses will typically be charged a fee of CA$75 per hour, CA$500 per day or CA$1500 per week to extract and assemble data. The Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas will consider waiving this fee, in part or in full, for project partners and not-for-profit researchers/authors.

Authorship and Acknowledgements

If a request for data includes proposed research with significant Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas staff contributions, then agreement on the role of involved staff, joint authorship, and order of authors on publications must be reached before the data are released.

The researchers/authors agree to acknowledge the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (as well as the clients or partners when applicable) in all relevant publications using the statement provided below. Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas review of manuscripts (or parts thereof) before submission to journals is requested as a courtesy, especially in cases where the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas or client policy or operating practice is a subject of discussion or conclusions. 

We recommend that Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas data accessed from NatureCounts be cited as follows:

Birds Canada, Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Nature, Ontario Field Ornithologists and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 2008. Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas Database. Data accessed from NatureCounts, a node of the Avian Knowledge Network, Bird Studies Canada. Available: http://www.naturecounts.ca/. Accessed: <<date>>.

 In addition, we require that the following statement be included in the acknowledgement section of any publication:

"Thanks to the official sponsors of the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (Birds Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Federation of Ontario Naturalists, Ontario Field Ornithologists, and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources) for supplying Atlas data, and to the thousands of volunteer participants who gathered data for the project."

If data retrieved from NatureCounts are to be used for web-based products (maps, summaries, etc.), you must contact us(naturecounts@bsc-eoc.org) for instructions on applicable contributor/partner logo(s) and website link(s).


The Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas retains the copyright on all data provided to researchers/authors, unless the copyright has been legally transferred to a client.

Revocation of Privileges

Any researcher/author not abiding by this policy or the terms of the Data Request and Release Form and Publication Agreement may forfeit any future access to Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas data.