[Ontbirds] Ottawa/Gatineau: OFNC Position on Bird Reporting During COVID-19, Revised 2020-04-15

Derek Dunnett derekdunnett at gmail.com
Thu Apr 16 11:50:55 EDT 2020

OFNC Position on Bird Reporting During COVID-19, Revised 2020-04-15

The OFNC is not a public health agency. We defer to the advice of such
agencies, and we are concerned that any advice or guidelines we
suggest could be interpreted as playing fast and loose with the advice
of such agencies.

Nevertheless, our members look to us for guidance on the specifics of
activities like enjoying nature in general, and birding in particular.

You can and should continue to observe birds (and other living
things), in your yard, your neighbourhood, or in nearby greenspaces
that your local public health authorities allow.

Continue to report observations to the OFNC Facebook page, iNaturalist
and eBird. They continue to be excellent opportunities to engage in
citizen science. Let's make 2020 a Backyard Big Year!

What should change?

The OFNC publishes a weekly report on bird sightings. We have decided
to suspend this until the measures to control COVID-19 have eased. We
do this to ensure that the OFNC, even inadvertently, does not
contribute to situations that public health authorities would frown
upon, such as travelling to watch birds (non-essential travel), or
congregating at popular sites (physical distancing).

That said, most of our information for the weekly report comes from
eBird data. Please continue to use tools like eBird and iNaturalist.
As said on the eBird blog, “please follow local guidance and do what
is right for you”. If software allows you to delay reports of rare and
unusual birds or other animals, we encourage you to use these

The American Birding Association has good advice on what to do: “ Keep
your eyes on the sky and your butt close to home ”.

Please continue to enjoy birding from your home or neighbourhood while
keeping us all safe.

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