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Bird Friendly City

by Elaine Ehman

Late in 2020, Nature Canada approached Nature Regina and Nature Saskatchewan about applying to certify Regina as a Bird Friendly City (BFC).  According to Nature Canada the certification process is “to recognize and celebrate the contributions [cities] have made to save bird lives in their municipalities. The goal of certification is to provide local partners with a clear standard that reflects what a city needs to do to make it safe for birds. Certification is a badge of honor and a source of community pride. It tells the world that your city or town does things to help birds and reverse their declines in your own backyard.” 

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There are three criteria for certification:  

  • 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. 

 

The certification is given for entry, intermediate or high level. To achieve either intermediate or high certification, the City   achieve that level in all three categories. Regina was certified as entry level so that means despite our successes we have lots of work to do. However, many of Nature Regina’s programs and activities that supported the successful application continue to make a difference, helping ensure Regina’s future higher BFC certification.   

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There is currently a 14-member BFC team with a great mix of nature organizations and concerned individuals; several are members of Nature Regina. The BFC team has an action list to address areas in the three categories and has already begun work on two important issues: use of cosmetic pesticides and window collisions. A big thank you to city Councillors Cheryl Stadnichuk (Ward 1) and Shanon Zachidniak (Ward 8), who championed the application with the city.  

 

Our first action after being certified was to join other like-minded naturalists in making a presentation to Regina City Council on their proposal motion to undergo a review of the regulation of non-essential (cosmetic) use of pesticides. We want the city to reduce or eliminate non-essential pesticide use that directly or indirectly harms birds. 

This year on May 14th, 2022 members of our bird team held their first World Migratory Bird Day event at an Eden Care Facility (Broadway Terrace) where they installed Feather Friendly™ window tape.  The deck was the recent scene of 20 fatalities of Bohemian waxwings who collided with the glass windows surrounding the deck. 

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On February 10th, 2023 Mayor Sandra Masters sent a letter to Nature Canada reinforcing the City’s commitment to maintaining our BFC designation. This support from the city is a mandatory requirement to keep our certification and we were pleased to receive it one month shy of our first anniversary.  Mayor Masters also proclaimed January 5, 2024 as National Bird Day. 

 

Early in 2023, the Regina Performing Arts Centre approached Nature Saskatchewan about doing an art exhibit in their lobby.  On behalf of the BFC, Nature Saskatchewan applied for and received a $3,000 grant from Nature Canada to support the Bird Friendly Regina project. These funds were used to put on a nature themed art exhibit. 

 

The exhibit focused on Regina as a Bird Friendly City and ran during February and March 2023. The exhibit included a signed copy of the Bird Friendly City designation, photos, paintings, carvings and other artwork about birds in our city. The exhibit also included information about the Bird Friendly City designation and actions that people in the city can take to keep birds safe.  

In the fall of 2023, the bird team began the process of selecting a City Bird.  The team accepted nominations during late October and narrowed the list down to 6 birds – Black-capped Chickadee, Canada Goose, Gray Partridge, American White Pelican, Peregrine Falcon and Red-breasted Nuthatch. On January 5, 2024, National Bird Day, the Black-capped Chickadee became the City of Regina's official bird.

If you’d like to learn more about the BFC program and also see Regina’s full application, you can go to Bird Friendly City: A Certification Program - Nature Canada 

 

If you’re interested in being on Regina’s Bird Friendly Team or volunteering for events you can find us on Facebook or email birdfriendlycity@gmail.com  

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