The nonprofit group Nature Canada recently announced that 14 new cities and municipalities across Canada have earned certification as a “Bird Friendly City.” The certification was developed by Nature Canada to encourage municipalities to become safer places for birds. The program was made possible by a $655,000 investment from Environment and Climate Change Canada.
In the spring of 2021, Vancouver, Toronto, London, and Calgary were the first cities to be certified. Seven of the newly certified cities are in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, and three are the capital cities of their provinces. The 14 newly certified cities are:
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec (a suburb of Montreal)
Halton Hills, Ontario
Strathcona County, Alberta (located just east of Edmonton)
Lions Bay, British Columbia (a small community north of Vancouver)
Saanich, British Columbia (a suburb of Victoria)
When a city, county, or town seeks certification as a Bird Friendly City, teams are established, and residents are actively involved in protecting and monitoring their local bird populations.
The Bird Friendly City program encourages communities to act to:
- reduce the number of human-caused threats to birds, such as outdoor cats, pesticide use, and collisions with windows;
- create safe environments for birds by promoting stewardship and ensuring that natural habitats are protected and restored; and
- engage and educate citizens on the benefits of Bird Friendly Cities and the celebration of birds in their communities.
“Birds play an essential role in maintaining healthy ecosystems in our communities,” said Graham Saul, executive director of Nature Canada. “And they hold a special place in the hearts of nature-lovers all over the world. But there are three billion fewer birds in North America today than 50 years ago. We appreciate the work and leadership represented in the cities and towns being celebrated today. Bird Friendly City certification is more than just a piece of paper. It’s a commitment to building a nature-positive world together, and we are honored to work with the municipalities to achieve that vision.”