Government of Canada announces certification of fourteen new bird friendly cities
December 8, 2022 – Montréal, Quebec
Birds are part of Canadian life. They can be easily observed across the country, even in urban areas. Some species visit cities year-round, while others are there on migration. The Government of Canada is committed to protecting bird populations and their habitats. To do this, it works with many partners, including provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous peoples, non-profit organizations, and municipalities.
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced today at COP15 that 14 new Canadian cities have been certified as a “Bird Friendly City”. This 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.
Birds play a critical role in maintaining healthy and resilient ecosystems in communities and on the planet. Today, there are three billion fewer birds in North America than there were 50 years ago. Most of these losses are caused by human activities.
As urban sprawl continues, cities also have a responsibility to take action to protect and sustain Canada’s bird populations. The Bird Friendly City program encourages communities to take action to:
- reduce the number of human-caused threats to birds, such as stray cats, pesticide use, and bird collisions in windows through the use of window treatments in buildings with large windows
- create safe environments for birds by promoting stewardship and ensuring that natural habitats are protected and restored
- engage and educate citizens on the benefits of Bird Friendly Cities and the celebration of birds in our communities
The 14 newly certified cities are:
- Barrie, Ontario
- Burlington, Ontario
- Edmonton, Alberta
- Guelph, Ontario
- Halifax, Nova Scotia
- Halton Hills, Ontario
- Hamilton, Ontario
- Lions Bay, British Columbia
- Peterborough, Ontario
- Regina, Saskatchewan
- Saanich, British Columbia
- Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec
- Strathcona County, Alberta
- Windsor, Ontario
This is just one of the steps the Government of Canada is taking to protect nature as it welcomes the world to Montréal from December 7 to 19 for the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. COP15 is an opportunity for Canada to show leadership in taking action to conserve nature and halt biodiversity loss around the world, in partnership with Indigenous peoples, the original stewards of the land.
“Getting certified as a Bird Friendly City is something these municipalities can really crow about. It’s a point of pride and a self-imposed challenge to continue doing better in protecting the fate of bird populations that enrich our urban environments while helping to balance our ecosystems. I salute Nature Canada’s initiative, and all the work of partners who are making sure that certification is offered to cities that are making significant efforts to protect our birds. We all benefit when we raise awareness about the importance of bird life and its habitats.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“Birds play an essential role in maintaining healthy ecosystems in our communities. 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 honoured to work with the municipalities to achieve that vision.”
– Graham Saul, Executive Director, Nature Canada
“What a great tribute to Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue that has such a long and animated history of being ecologically aware and supportive of conservation initiatives, so that our wildlife, including birds, could be safeguarded for the benefit of future generations. We are lucky to have had the Morgan Arboretum and the McGill Bird Observatory on our territory because they have not only educated local people about birds, but also contributed to important scientific research that has benefitted the whole world. I thank Nature Canada for recognizing Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue with this Bird Friendly City certification and supporting our efforts to make the municipality become safer for wild birds.”
– Paola Hawa, mayor of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue
“This is a wonderful recognition. In Halifax, we know that when we care for the environment we do it not only for the humans who in live in our city, but also for our feathered friends and other wildlife who make it their home.”
– Mike Savage, mayor of Halifax
“As an urban and rural community with more than 170 diverse parks and natural areas, I am so proud Saanich is recognized as a Bird Friendly City. We focus on environmental stewardship and education, naturescaping, and ecosystem restoration through our programs, and this is one more way we can support and protect wildlife and biodiversity.”
– Dean Murdock, mayor of the District of Saanich, British Columbia
In the spring of 2021, Vancouver, Toronto, London, and Calgary were the first cities to be certified.
In each municipality seeking certification as a Bird Friendly City, teams are established and residents are actively involved in protecting and monitoring their local bird populations.
The country hosts approximately 393 species of migratory birds on a seasonal cycle. Habitat loss due to urban and coastal development, agriculture, and various land use changes are the main threats to migratory birds.
The Government of Canada is protecting migratory bird habitat by moving toward its goal of conserving 25 percent of Canada’s land, fresh water and oceans by 2025, with a target of 30 percent by 2030.
Birds are excellent indicators of the health of our water, air, and land. They help forests and farms stay healthy by spreading seeds, and eating insects and rodents. They contribute to the economy through bird watching and hunting.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll free)
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