Canada Just Got a Lot More Bird Friendly: 7 Municipalities Recognized as Great Places to Live — for Birds!
Unceded Algonquin Territory — Ottawa, ON — November 13, 2023
Nature Canada is thrilled to announce the country’s newest Certified Bird Friendly Cities and Towns for the 2023 Fall season!
The City of Richmond Hill, ON, has become the 24th municipality in Canada to earn this designation. At the same time, the Towns of Devon, AB, Selwyn, ON, and Hudson, QC, were announced as the newest additions to Nature Canada’s Bird Friendly Town Certification standard.
The first three cities Certified as Bird Friendly in 2021, Toronto, ON, Calgary, AB, and London, ON, have successfully renewed their Certification status.
The City of London remains the country’s only High Level Bird Friendly City (over 80% of points awarded). Followed by the City of Calgary, which is awarded Intermediate Certification Level (65% of points awarded), and the City of Toronto, Entry Certification Level (50% of points awarded). The City of Toronto was previously awarded High Level Certification in 2021; however, our updated Certification Standards require Intermediate and High Level Certified Cities and Towns to have a no-roam cat bylaw to prevent the drastic declines cat predation poses on birds.
This brings the total number of Bird Friendly municipalities in Canada to 24.
All applications will be made public on our Certified Cities Mapper.
All Certified cities and towns have collaborated with Nature Canada, local community organizations and amazing volunteers to make their communities a safe haven for wild birds.
Nature Canada and our partners have developed the Bird Friendly City and Town Certification Program to encourage Canadian municipalities of all sizes to become safer places for our feathered friends. The ultimate goal of the program is to reverse the decline in bird populations across Canada and help make our towns and cities places for biodiversity to thrive.
Birds play an essential role in maintaining healthy and resilient ecosystems in our communities and across the globe. However – their populations are still declining at alarming rates due to human activities such as climate change, pesticide use and habitat loss. As urban boundary expansion continues, municipalities must act quickly to ensure that North America’s bird populations are protected and supported for years to come. Nature Canada’s Bird Friendly City and Town Certification Program encourages community leaders and municipal decision-makers to take action together to:
- Reduce the number of human-related threats to birds such as free-roaming cats, pesticide-use and bird-friendly building design legislation
- Promote stewardship and nature-based climate solutions to maintain healthy and resilient natural habitats for birds
- Engage and educate citizens about the benefits of bird friendly practices through community events, participatory science and World Migratory Bird Day celebrations
In each municipality seeking to become Bird Friendly certified, volunteer Bird Teams are created and residents are actively engaged in protecting, monitoring and celebrating their local bird populations.
For more information on each local Bird Team please visit:
- Bird Friendly Richmond Hill
- Bird Friendly Devon
- Bird Friendly Selwyn
- Bird Friendly London
- Bird Friendly Calgary
- Bird Friendly Toronto
- Le Nichoir, Hudson
Nature Canada is pleased to acknowledge the support of Environment and Climate Change Canada for the Bird Friendly City program.
David West, Mayor of Richmond Hill:
“We are proud of our efforts to be a safe haven for our feathered friends. I want to thank Nature Canada for its recognition and support. The Bird Friendly Cities initiative not only has tangible benefits for birds and the environment, but will help to raise citizen awareness, so we can work together to build a community where humans and wildlife can live in harmony.”
Sherry Senis, Mayor of Selwyn Township:
“The communities that make up the Township of Selwyn are proud to receive a Bird Friendly City Certificate through Nature Canada’s certification program. The Township has increasingly made strong efforts towards becoming more sustainable by introducing new programs to our residents and taking on various corporate projects that will make positive leeway towards fighting climate change. From the introduction of countertop composters to the installation of EV chargers and becoming a certified Bee Friendly Community, this Bird Friendly City Certification is another step towards becoming a greener community. As a Township, we would like to express our appreciation to Nature Canada for supporting communities like ours to become a more welcoming, safe haven for birds.”
Carly Davenport, Bird Friendly Selwyn Founder:
“On behalf of the Selwyn Bird Team, we are so proud of the certification and all the hard work that went into it. Programs like these empower community members to protect the biodiversity around us. The goal of maintaining or improving certification status year after year allows Bird Teams to advocate with their municipal governments to ensure meaningful conservation initiatives are implemented. We hope that in Selwyn, we can be a part of lasting policy change to protect birds.”
Jeff Craddock, Mayor of Devon:
“It is with pride that the Devon Town Council adds the protection of birds, and their habitat to the list of Devon environmental commitments such as our Green Strategy, Integrated Pest Management Plan, Urban Forest Management Plan, and Tree City of the World Status. As a Certified Bird Friendly Town, Devon celebrates the years of work by community members, organizations, stakeholders, and public servants that will be acknowledged with this certification. Thank you to all the volunteers in the Devon Bird Friendly team, whose hard work and determination have helped Devon achieve Nature Canada’s Bird Friendly City status.”
Don Reynolds, Devon Nature Club:
“Our team is very excited that Devon is the second small town in Canada, and the first small town in Alberta to be designated a Bird Friendly City, and to be recognized with this Badge of Honour! We are committed to continue to work collaboratively with the Town of Devon to continue to reduce threats to birds, protect their habitat and provide a community outreach and education program.”
Mark Gray, Hudson Town Councillor & Chairman of Environment Committee:
“Hudson is by its nature bird friendly — with our canopied village and surrounding forests, our grasslands and wetlands as well as the Ottawa River as a haven for aquatic birds. Le Nichoir Wild Bird Conservation was born and raised here and has been working for wild bird conservation through public education and rehabilitation for the past 27 years. We are delighted and very proud that our town has received this important recognition by Nature Canada.”
Brendon Samuels, Bird Friendly London Founder:
“It is a great honour and responsibility for the City of London to be recognized as a leader in bird conservation among Canadian municipalities. The distinction of being the country’s only High-level certified Bird Friendly City reflects the values and hard work of the London community, particularly the local government and many partners in the environmental sector. What excites me most about the recognition of what we have done in London is the opportunity to openly share the knowledge, resources, and applications with anyone who wants to drive similar changes in their community. We invite other Bird Friendly City teams or prospective members of new teams to visit our website www.birdfriendlylondon.ca and borrow or adapt anything posted there.”
Bird Friendly Toronto team:
“The Bird Friendly City Toronto team is pleased that Toronto has been recertified as a Bird Friendly City. The City’s downgrading to Entry level shows that Toronto has some work to do, especially in terms of reducing the threats that birds face. We hope to work on this with the City over the next two years.”
Bird Friendly Calgary team:
“From the start, the Members of Bird Friendly Calgary have remained committed to using this certification as a means for continual improvements in Calgary. We are pleased with the Intermediate designation that has been achieved and the improvements in policy and awareness that has come over the last two years. There are still many improvements to be made and our team will continue to work with the community and City to make Calgary a city that is truly friendly to birds. We call upon each Calgarian, at their home and their workplace to support our efforts and mark their glass, keep cats inside, plant native plants and reduce nighttime lights.”
- Bird Friendly City Guiding Resources
- BirdSafe ® Bird Friendly Building Design Assessment
- An Integrative Approach to Bird Conservation and Cat Welfare
- Bird Friendly Building Survey
- Bird Day
Nature Canada is Canada’s voice for nature. For 80 years, Nature Canada has helped protect over 110 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species. Today, Nature Canada represents a network of over 130,000 members and supporters and more than 1,000 nature organizations.
For more information contact:
613-562-3447 ext. 238
613-562-3447 ext. 230