The Save Our Songbirds Foundation

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Many species of migratory songbirds that breed in North America are in decline and no one seems to know exactly why. What is desperately needed are biologists in the field monitoring migratory songbirds to provide scientists with data to find out what is happening. For the past 10 years we have put biologists in the field in Costa Rica. While this was extremely fruitful we are now shifting our attention to monitoring birds closer to home in Canada. Commencing in April 2014 we will be opening a bird banding and migration monitoring station on McKellar Island in Thunder Bay, Ontario: McKellar Island Bird Observatory. Contact John or Maureen at for information regarding volunteer opportunities. We need volunteers to handle birds, work with mist-nets, record data, to help with visitors & more.

Blue Grosbeak

Hooded Warbler

Painted Bunting

Prothonotary Warbler

Summer Tanager

Tennessee Warbler

Black White Warbler

Great Crested Flycatcher

Rose Breasted Grosbeak 


Our Mission

Our goal is to ensure the long-term survival of migratory songbirds through an integrated conservation program of research, management & education.

What We Do

For 10 years we ran four migratory songbird monitoring stations in mangrove swamps in Costa Rica collecting data on wintering songbirds. This project included research, community outreach, and education activities. 

We worked in collaboration with The Institute for Bird Populations,

The Center for Tropical Research & Conservation Genetics,, 

The Canadian Wildlife Service,,

Área de Conservación Guanacaste, Costa Rica,

Thunder Bay Field Naturalists,

 and Bird Studies Canada

In order to perform this work we took on multiple roles, becoming volunteer coordinators, educators, ambassadors for Canada, and fundraisers. At our banding locations in Costa Rica we provided aspiring young biologists with opportunities to learn field techniques through participating in our field research.

We also provided public programs in campgrounds near our study sites giving young and old alike unique experiences with birds up close and opportunities to learn more about them. Questions about our home, Canada, were frequently intermingled with those on birds. Which brings us full circle, for our two countries share many of the same birds at different seasons. Now we are shifting our focus to monitoring migrating birds on McKellar Island in Thunder Bay where we anticipate intercepting birds as they migrate north in the spring and south in the fall. Visitors are welcome by reservation. Contact

As fundraisers we have built this website not only to share with you our experiences but also to attract your attention, maybe spark some interest, and generate some support for the work we do. Currently no government grants cover any of our costs.

You Can Help

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Become a member. Members receive monthly email newsletters spring and fall with stories & photos of our research activities and other sightings at McKellar Island Bird Observatory.

‘Adopt a bird’ and you will also receive a printable certificate with a photo of the bird you adopt along its band number, where it was captured, its species, age, & sex AND you will receive email notification of encounters we have with ‘your’ bird in the future.

Membership cost is $10 per year

To visit McKellar Island Bird Observatory contact

Adopt a bird for $50 per bird.

For more information contact us at

If you prefer  payments & donations can be mailed to:

Save Our Song Birds
c/o 324 First Avenue
Thunder Bay, Ontario
P7B 2M8

We accept Visa, Mastercard & American Express

A tax receipt will be issued at the end of the year.

Corporate sponsors welcome.

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