Nature Canada certifies Canada’s first Bird Friendly Cities
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, ON, May 7, 2021 – Nature Canada is proud to announce Canada’s first certified Bird Friendly Cities: Vancouver, Toronto, London, and Calgary. The Bird Friendly City designation has been developed by Nature Canada to encourage Canadian cities and towns to become safer and better places for birds.
There are three billion fewer birds in North America today than 50 years ago. Much of these losses are caused by human activities. Birds play an essential role in maintaining healthy and resilient ecosystems in our communities and our planet.
Canada’s largest city, Toronto, was the first to have a Council-approved strategy to address bird collision in their Bird-Friendly Development Guidelines in 2007.
Vancouver was the first Canadian city with a council-approved comprehensive bird strategy, Vancouver Bird Strategy, in 2015, designed to address the suite of issues affecting birds.
How fitting that these two municipalities are part of the first certified Bird Friendly Cities in Canada.
Calgary and London are being certified today as well just in time for World Migratory Bird Day which will be celebrated tomorrow in cities across Canada and around the world.
As urban expansion continues, cities must act quickly to ensure that North America’s bird populations are protected and supported. Nature Canada’s Bird Friendly City program encourages communities to take action to:
- reduce the number of human-related threats to birds such as roaming cats, the use of pesticides, and glass treatment on 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 about the benefits of Bird Friendly Cities and celebrating birds in our communities.
In each municipality seeking to become Bird Friendly certified, Bird Teams are created and residents are actively engaged in protecting and monitoring their local bird populations.
Nature Canada is pleased to acknowledge the support of Environment and Climate Change Canada for the Bird Friendly City program and World Migratory Bird Day.
Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada – MP for North Vancouver
“Birds are an integral part of biodiversity and the lives of Canadians. Despite their great adaptability, science shows us that many populations are decreasing. Our government has invested $405,000 to support Nature Canada in implementing this certification to provide municipalities with clear standards to ensure the conservation of birds in urban areas. We congratulate certified cities and we hope that many others will follow.”
Kennedy Stewart, Mayor of Vancouver
“As our city continues to grow we must take care of our ecosystem and that involves protecting our diverse population of birds. Vancouver has been a leader in this – and continues to be today. This has been a community initiative and I want to thank everyone for helping our city become certified as one of Canada’s first Bird Friendly Cities.”
John Tory, Mayor of Toronto
“The City of Toronto is extremely proud to receive High Level certification as a ‘Bird Friendly City’ from Nature Canada. We are especially proud that Toronto was the first city in North America to develop and implement guidelines to make buildings less dangerous for migratory birds. Staff have been working hard over the years to make Toronto safer for birds and the hard work has paid off. Congratulations to Nature Canada on its “Bird Friendly City” initiative which helps us recognize and celebrate specific actions that cities are taking to make urban environments safer for all birds.”
Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary
“I’m so proud that Calgary is one of Nature Canada’s first certified Bird Friendly Cities. Calgarians are passionate about conserving our natural spaces, and protecting local wildlife and bird populations. We’re concerned that bird populations in North America are threatened, and so we remain committed to Nature Canada’s science-based approach and actions to ensure our community is bird-friendly.
Ted Cheskey, Naturalist Director – Nature Canada
“Our Bird Friendly City program provides communities and local partners with clear, independent, rigorous and measurable standards on what a city needs to do to create safe environments for birds. All Bird Friendly Cities celebrate World Migratory Bird Day. Both Vancouver and Toronto knock it out of the park on celebrating World Migratory Bird Day, with their respective multi-day festivals to celebrate the return of our migratory birds.”
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