Northern Québec

The collection of Atlas data for southern Québec ended in 2014 and fieldwork efforts are now being focused on the region north of 50° 30' N (Atlas regions 42 to 50), a vast and rugged area comprising more than 11 000 survey squares. Relatively few data were collected in this region during the 2010-2014 phase of the project, and so we expect that fieldwork in the north will continue for a few years. We invite experienced and independent birdwatchers wishing to conduct surveys in this part of the province to carefully read through the following page and, if necessary, to contact us for further information.

The Atlas Office has recently produced maps for approximately 1200 survey squares in northern Québec. These cover the areas that are accessible by land or that are situated in the vicinity of northern communities. You can click here to download a Google Earth file showing the squares in question, and the maps themselves can be downloaded via the Maps of regions and squares page. These maps are slightly different from those produced for southern Québec in that although they illustrate the habitats present in a given survey square, there are no predetermined point counts. Nevertheless, the percentage covered by each habitat type is specified on each map. This is important if you are planning to conduct point counts in the north, as these will need to be proportionally divided between the key habitats present in your square (see point 3, below).

If you are planning to visit an area for which survey square maps have not been produced, the Grid of survey squares page enables you to download a file allowing you to view the boundaries of all the survey squares of northern Québec using Google Earth*. This file will also allow you to obtain the reference number of the survey square in which you intend to collect data, and will enable you to conduct a virtual visit to your survey square, allowing you to note different elements, such as habitat types and topography.

The Guide for atlassers contains no specific information concerning conducting Atlas fieldwork north of 50°30' N. For this reason, we recommend that you consider the following guidelines if you are intending to visit survey squares in this region:

  1. As for any survey square, try to visit all the habitat types present to optimise the possibility of collecting breeding evidence for as many species as possible. When possible, please try to allocate 15 to 20 hours to adequately cover a given survey square.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the Daily Observation Form, which replaces the Breeding Evidence Form. This new form has several advantages, which you can learn about on the Daily Observation Form page.
  3. If you are able to do so, please aim to conduct 15 point counts in the survey squares you visit, following the method outlined in the Guide for atlassers. The precise location of the point count stations is left to your discretion, but these should be positioned: a) in each of the different habitats present within the square, respecting the total proportion occupied by each habitat type; b) in a sufficiently large patch of habitat so as to be at least 100 m from any other habitat; and c) at least 300 m from any other point count station.
  4. Your observations of rare and/or colonial species should be documented as fully as possible, and should follow the instructions in the Guide for atlassers. Before setting out, we recommend that you visit the Regional lists page to identify the rare and/or colonial species that are likely to be present in the region in which you intend to collect data.

Few birdwatchers have the opportunity of visiting northern Québec, so if you do have the chance, please try to collect data. We also encourage you to contact the Atlas Office to let us know about your plans and to see whether there is the possibility of obtaining support. Finally, we recommend that you check the Atlas website regularly for news concerning the coverage of northern Québec.

*Two marine regions have recently been added to the Atlas study area: the Nunavik Marine Region and the Eeyou Marine Region, which include several islands in the James Bay, the Hudson Bay and the Ungava Bay that have traditionally been used by the Cree and Inuit peoples of Québec. If you plan to visit one of these regions, and to collect data, please contact the Atlas Office.