Nature Canada

Saanich, BC earns Nature Canada’s “Bird Friendly City” designation


Unceded Algonquin Territory – Ottawa, ON, 10 May, 2022 – Nature Canada is proud to announce Canada’s next certified Bird Friendly City, Saanich, BC. Saanich becomes the ninth city in Canada to earn the designation.

The District of Saanich has worked in collaboration with Nature Canada’s partners including Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary, to make their community a safe haven for wild birds.

Fred Haynes, Saanich Mayor

“Nature Canada’s recognition of our efforts to conserve birds, their habitat, and local ecosystems is tremendously appreciated. 

Excellent work, Saanich Bird Team! Your work has ensured this certification award is certainly well deserved. We all look forward to how we can expand this work to include additional conservation actions as well as include more of our community in the coming years.”

The city has implemented bird friendly policies and actions to help birds thrive in Saanich. These actions include: 

  • Protecting and restoring natural habitat on municipal lands to support biodiversity; 
  • A strong commitment to climate change mitigation and adaptation, including nature-based solutions;
  • Educational campaigns that raise awareness of threats to birds and information on how to mitigate these threats
  • Providing opportunity for residents to get involved in community science projects for bird conservation

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. As part of the Bird Friendly City program, Bird Teams are encouraged to host World Migratory Bird Day events to celebrate welcoming migratory birds back into our neighborhoods each spring! 

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.


Judy Brownoff, Saanich Councillor, Chair, Parks, Trails and Recreation Advisory Committee

“Saanich being certified as a Bird Friendly City during Migratory Bird Week, is a way to educate and work with our greater community on what we all can do. Saanich has over 170 parks, including programs around ecosystem restoration, Naturescaping on private lands, plus mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change, but I know our community is ready to work on more. This joint effort with Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary and Saanich is a positive initiative to move us forward.”

Phaedra Otwey, Community Education Assistant, Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary, Lead for the Saanich Bird Team

“The District of Saanich being certified as a Bird Friendly City with Nature Canada – the first one on Vancouver Island – is beyond exciting! The process to certification revealed all of the incredible action that this district has and is taking towards the conservation and protection of birds, wildlife, and our incredible ecosystems. It also demonstrated just how many dedicated people and organizations in our community are working hard to continue making Saanich as beneficial and safe to wildlife as it is to us. This has been a truly inspiring initiative to be a part of and I am so thrilled that it will connect so many more people to the wonderful world of birds! This certification is only the beginning of Saanich’s commitment to birds and I’m so excited to see what will come next!”

Eva Riccius, Senior Manager of Parks, District of Saanich, Member of the Saanich Bird Team

“We are thrilled to be certified as a Bird Friendly City by Nature Canada – and just in time for World Migratory Bird week!

This initiative fits directly with our Natural Intelligence program which encourages every resident to have a positive connection with nature locally. We’re excited about raising awareness of birds in Saanich and sharing some actions that residents can take to increase our bird friendliness.”

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