The Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas (2010 – 2014) is the largest natural history survey in Manitoba’s history and has produced an exceptionally high quality, comprehensive baseline against which future bird distribution and abundance will be measured. From 2010 – 2014, 1,054 registered volunteers invested 42,620 hours in the field (and many other hours in preparation), collecting well over 300,000 bird records. Many of the province’s most remote and least known areas were surveyed, greatly improving our knowledge, and five species were added to the list of confirmed breeders in the province.
This massive project was led by a steering committee with representatives from seven organisations: Paul Goossen: Environment Canada; Ken De Smet: Manitoba Conservation; Jon McCracken :Bird Studies Canada; Rudolf Koes :Nature Manitoba; Sherrie Mason :Manitoba Hydro; Cary Hamel :The Nature Conservancy of Canada; Randy Mooi :The Manitoba Museum
Two Bird Studies Canada (BSC) staff members spearheaded the effort: Christian Artuso (coordinator) and Bonnie Chartier (assistant coordinator). Technical considerations were guided by a technical committee and especially with the guidance of Denis Lepage and Andrew Couturier of BSC. This was an extraordinary partnership of government, non-government, industry and individual partners and the philosophy of inclusivity that was adopted permitted engaging a broad cross-section of society (birders of all skill levels, canoeists, outdoor enthusiasts, rural communities, First Nations, school children and youth) and made this project truly unique.
In 2016 the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas Steering Committee received the Ernest Thompson Seton Award