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Birding in the Kingston Area

Birding Resources

A compendium of resources on birding in general and birding in the Kingston area. Downloads Erwin Batalla has selected 120 species commonly seen in the region and pictures from Phil Harvey are illustrating them. All images were taken in the Kingston 50-km circle. We hope that this simplified guide will encourage you to observe birds … Read more

Birding Hotspots

Interactive Birding Areas Map 🗺 The Kingston Field Naturalists maintains an interactive Google Map of Birding Areas. Click on the map to get started. Birding Hot Spots of the Kingston Region This is a list of the most popular sites in the area to find birds. Most of these sites are visible on Google Maps … Read more

Kingston sits astride the Atlantic Flyway, a major migration route. Millions of birds travel through the area enroute to their breeding grounds, and then return again in the autumn as they head back to their wintering areas. This makes the area one of Ontario’s premier birding destinations, and the KFN membership includes many keen birders.

All birders should be cognizant of the need to protect certain observations from the public. Please see the KFN Sensitive Sightings Policy for more information on why this is needed and what you can do.

Recent bird sightings within the 50km KFN circle, centred on MacDonald Park, Kingston.

The KFN creates weekly, quarterly and annual reports of birds in the Kingston Study area. Weekly bird reports are currently compiled by Darren Rayner. Quarterly and annual bird reports appear in The Blue Bill.

Kingston Field Naturalists supports the American Birding Association’s Code of Birding Ethics in accordance with KFN’s Sensitive Sightings Policy. KFN no longer publicly reports sensitive sightings until the threat to the animal or plant is passed; all KFN members should follow the code of ethics and the Sensitive Sightings Policy. Please review them both before reading on.

NOTICE TO MEMBERS: The Owl Woods on Amherst Island is CLOSED annually during hunting season. The Owl Woods is private land.  The owners ask birders to stay out of the Woods during hunting season. KFN asks all birders to honour this long-term agreement.

(L to R) Osprey, Least Flycatcher, Cedar Waxwing. Copyright Anthony Kaduck

Bird Checklists and Reporting Forms

Kingston Field Naturalists (Kingston Nature Club prior to 1963) began collecting bird records in 1947. Originally filed by hand, KFN now collects the majority of records via eBird. These records include sight and banding observations, evidence of breeding birds, egg and brood dates, and other behavioural and circumstantial information. Ongoing projects of KFN continue to ensure that updated information is added to the database. These archives are rich with data that help paint a picture of the occurrence, abundance, and frequency of the 381 bird species known to have occurred in the Kingston region to 2018.

This wealth of information led the late Helen Quilliam to write her History of the Birds of Kingston, Ontario, 2nd edition, (1972, 210 pp). In order for her to judge the suitability of some of the records for inclusion in her book, she requested that a committee be set up. This was done and the committee eventually became the Rare Birds Committee in 1974. Subsequently, the Committee set the standard for the records included in Ron Weir’s Birds of the Kingston Region, (608 pp, 1989) and subsequent 2nd edition published in 2008. To this day, the purposes of the Committee are to (i) serve as the repository for information on specimen evidence, sight records and breeding status of the birds in the Kingston area, (ii) stimulate written reports on appropriate sight records, (iii) assess specimen evidence, sight record reports and breeding documentation, and (iv) advise the KFN Executive on the preparation of checklists.

The Committee would appreciate the help of those observers who find birds denoted by an (a) on the Field Checklist of Birds by completing and submitting the Rarity Form. These species are designated as rare or accidental in our area.

(L to R) Barred Owl, Wilson’s Phalarope, Downy Woodpecker. Copyright Anthony Kaduck


Kingston Field Naturalists has become an enthusiastic supporter of eBird. This is a great tool for birding anywhere in the world and it turns your bird observations into “critical data for science”! Everyone birding anywhere is encouraged to use it. Please check out what it is all about and sign yourself up. You can share all your records with KFN by using the share feature and the club’s user identity “Kingston FN”. Please visit eBird Canada to sign up and for further information.

Mike Burrell has prepared a series of eBird “how to” articles that have appeared in various editions of the Blue Bill. Check them out to learn more about how to use eBird and get the most out of it. Please note that these articles are a few years old and some things have changed. eBird also has a user-friendly help section.