While UFO sightings are near record highs, those standing up to scrutiny are at record lows, according to the 2016 Canadian UFO Survey.
A total of 1,131 UFO sightings were reported last year across Canada, the fifth year in a row the number has exceeded 1,000.
Only four per cent of those could not be explained, said Chris Rutkowski, of Winnipeg-based Ufology Research, which produced the survey with help from investigators and researchers across the country. That’s the lowest rate in 28 years of study and half the previous low of 8 per cent.
"What that means is we’re doing a better job of investigating cases," Rutkowski said.
"The cases are often reported from very good observers, like pilots and nature photographers, but we are eventually able to explain them."
That doesn’t mean he’s stopped believing in extraterrestrial life.
"As an astronomer, that is my belief. We’re just a matter of five to 10 years away from discovering hard evidence of life outside our solar system," he said.
Nearly 40 per cent of UFO sightings were in June, July and August, the 2016 survey found. Lights in the sky accounted for 55 per cent of sightings, while "close encounters" made up less than one per cent.
Quebec led the country with 38.5 per cent of sightings, even though it accounts for less than 24 per cent of the population. Ontario, with 39 per cent of the population, had 26 per cent of sightings, and British Columbia (13 per cent of population) had 17 per cent.
The most popular shape of UFO reported in 2016 was a simple point of light (57 per cent).
Other shapes reported were triangle (four per cent), ball (nine per cent), cigar (three per cent) and fireball (five per cent). "Flying saucers" were reported only 48 times (five per cent) in 2016.
The annual UFO survey was initiated in 1989. In the past 28 years, 18,038 Canadian reports have been catalogued, significantly higher than the files of the United States Air Force’s infamous Project Blue Book, which investigated and recorded 12,618 UFO reports from around the world from 1947 to 1969.