Guelph, ON earns Nature Canada’s “Bird Friendly City” designation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Unceded Algonquin Territory – Ottawa, ON, September 1st, 2022 – Nature Canada is proud to announce Canada’s next certified Bird Friendly City, Guelph, ON. The City of Guelph is the 17th city in Canada to earn the designation.
Guelph has worked in collaboration with Nature Canada’s partners including Bird Safe Guelph, The University of Guelph Arboretum and Nature Guelph alongside many other local organizations and dedicated volunteers to make their communities a safe haven for wild bird populations.
“Guelphites love the environment, and our birds – thanks for your overwhelming support and for choosing the Black-capped Chickadee as Guelph’s official bird,” adds Jayne Holmes, Guelph’s deputy chief administrative officer of Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services. “We’re proud to be on the list of Canadian cities working with Nature Canada to protect birds and their habitat.” Jayne Holmes
“I’m thrilled that Guelph has been named a Bird Friendly City. We had amazing community engagement when we held a vote on Guelph’s official bird, and this Bird Friendly designation will provide even more opportunities for awareness and engagement on the importance of birds and their habitats.” – Mayor Cam Guthrie
Volunteers with Bird Safe Guelph are delighted to see the City of Guelph become a Bird Friendly City. Guelph’s citizens care deeply about wildlife, and now the City has pledged its commitment to protect declining bird populations from human-made threats. If you’d like to learn more, go to www.birdsafeguelph.ca
“Bird Friendly City status is a feather in Guelph’s cap, but most importantly it’s a challenge to do better. Each year, the city will have to review the bylaws and design standards that are still harming wildlife. I look up to the City of Toronto, because they’ve taken a strong, scientific approach that requires Bird Friendly standards for all new builds, not just the ones beside green spaces. I’m grateful Guelph is such an environmentally progressive City! Let’s keep going.” – Angela Demarse, Bird Safe Guelph
“A big congratulations to the City of Guelph for becoming a Bird Friendly City, and to all the members of Bird Safe Guelph, Nature Guelph, Wild Birds Unlimited, and all other community members who have contributed to the protection of birds in our city! Our action so far is just the beginning of the work that needs to be done to prevent the mass bird death that occurs in Canada each year. I encourage all community members, and especially decision makers, to continue to make changes that protect our city’s nature and wildlife.” – Hayley Spina, Bird Safe Guelph Founder
Guelph has achieved Intermediate Bird-Friendly Status with a total score of 35 points – 13 in Section 1, Threat Reduction, 9 in Section 2, Habitat Protection, and 13 in Section 3, Community Outreach and Education.
The Guelph Team has achieved this through a variety of ways such as:
- One Canopy Strategy to achieve city-wide canopy cover targets
- Natural Heritage Action Plan with diverse outdoor education opportunities and metrics to maintain and conserve important landscapes as well as incorporating Bird Friendly Design and Lighting Guidelines
- Distributing window treatment kits to the public and collaborative efforts with artist Shelby Bohn (left) and the City of Guelph to create a window mural at City Hall
- Guelph Cat Population Task Force led by experts and knowledgeable citizen volunteers from the City of Guelph, University of Guelph, and the Guelph Humane Society
The Bird Friendly City designation has been developed by Nature Canada to encourage Canadian cities and municipalities to become safer and better places for birds.
Birds play an essential role in maintaining healthy and resilient ecosystems in our communities and on our planet. But there are three billion fewer birds in North America today than 50 years ago. Much of these losses are caused by human activities. 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, monitoring and celebrating 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.