About the Atlas Database

The Atlas database consists of several components, most of which are openly available for download on this site. While we plan to release a data query tool that will allow data extraction based on customized criteria (e.g., species, year, square number, region, etc.), it is not expected to be ready until later in 2008. In the meantime, it is possible to download the complete individual data files in comma-delimited (.csv) text format or shapefiles using the data download page. Various types of summaries are also available and can easily be downloaded using the data summary page.

It is important to note that the datasets available on this web site do not include observations of non-breeding birds (records coded as X), or records not accepted by the Atlas Significant Species Committee. The decisions to exclude records was most often made on the basis of the probability (or lack thereof) that the species was breeding where it was reported according to the standard atlas guidelines and breeding evidence code definitions. All information available was used to inform those decisions (observation dates, habitat, behaviour, and other details reported by the atlassers).

It is also important to note that some species at risk records have been excluded from datasets that provide exact coordinates of individual sightings, including primarily the point count dataset and the Rare/Colonial forms. That decision was made in order to protect those rare species from excessive disturbance. Those records are however included in all datasets that report the information at the 10x10 km square level (breeding evidence tables). People interested in acquiring those records of species at risk must complete an application form and provide the rationale for accessing them. Those requests will be evaluated by an Atlas data release committee using guidelines provided by the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Center.

Breeding Evidence (second Ontario Atlas, 2001-2005)

  • Breeding evidence, summarized to the highest breeding evidence per species in each square. This is the version that was used to produce breeding evidence maps published in the book.
  • Breeding evidence, as provided by participants (raw data). Typically contains the highest breeding evidence code reported by an individual participant for each species in a given year within each square.
  • Effort data, summarized by square (total number of hours spent atlassing in each square).
  • Effort data, as provided by participants (raw effort). Includes date, time and effort of individual visits, that can be linked to the raw breeding evidence data (first encounter of a species only).

Breeding Evidence (first Ontario Atlas, 1981-1985)

  • Breeding evidence, summarized to the highest breeding evidence per species in each square. The square numbers are provided using the most current numbering system). This is the version that was used to produce breeding evidence maps in the first book.
  • Breeding evidence, raw data (as provided by participants). Typically contains the highest breeding evidence code reported by an individual participant for each species in a given year within each square.
  • Effort data, summarized by square (total number of hours spent atlassing in each square). Raw effort data is not available for the first Atlas.

Point Counts (second Ontario Atlas, 2001-2005)

Point counts are a new addition to the second atlas, and are therefore only available for 2001-2005. Over 66,000 individual point counts were conducted throughout Ontario during the project. Each point count was 5 minutes long, during which the number of individuals of each species were counted separately within or beyond a 100m radius (unlimited distance). The data file available for unrestricted download does not include the records for the species listed in Table 1, but a summary of the number of records of each of those species within each square is available.

  • Point count header (one record per sampling event, including date, time, location, habitat, etc.).
  • Point count data (one record per species recorded). Records of species that were not considered at least possible breeders in a square were excluded from the point count dataset, although not all individual records necessarily refer to breeding birds. This table also excludes a small number of species at risk records (listed in Table 1).
  • Summary of the Point count species at risk records that are excluded from the Point count data table.

Rare/Colonial Species (second Ontario Atlas, 2001-2005)

The following datasets contain information on sensitive species and have restrictions, and their release must be approved by the Atlas data release committee.

  • Point count data for species at risk, only available under special request.
  • Rare/Colonial Species data, including species, squares, date, coordinates, breeding code and number of adults and/or nests.

Lookup tables

  • Atlas regions
  • Atlas squares
  • Breeding evidence codes
  • Species codes
  • Habitat codes (used with point counts)

Spatial framework

The atlas grid (squares and blocks) are also available for download. The atlas grid for the first atlas was based on the NAD27 projection, and differed only very slightly from the NAD83 projection used for the second atlas (at most a few hundred meters). Only the grid from the second Atlas (NAD83) is provided here.

  • 10 x 10 km squares. ESRI Shapefile with metadata.
  • 100 x 100 km blocks. ESRI Shapefile with metadata.

Other data

Additional data may be available upon request to Bird Studies Canada (scanned images of Rare/Colonial Species report forms, interpolated abundance maps, etc.).

Go to the download page

 

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