Canada is the second largest land mass in the world. With Canada’s four seasons and different flora, it is home to an impressive number of species of birds. These birds vary from our feathered residents that stay all year around, to breeding birds that spend a good part of the growing season in Canada to raise their young. Canada also has a variety of migrants who pass through with the seasons, along with wintering birds who like to spend a good part of the winter in Canada to flee the colder environment from up north. While numerous types of birds are fairly common as they are part of the flora and fauna, it is always a thrill to stumble upon a rare bird or drifter that does not really form part of the Canadian ecosystem. Perhaps the vagrant bird got lost during its travels between its summer and winter residence. Equally, the bird could have got displaced due to bad weather.
Among the species of the checklist of the birds of Canada you can find waterfowl and wading birds, a large suite of songbirds, raptors, game birds, swifts and nighthawks, etc., many of which occupy several environments simultaneously, as they fly to and from forests, meadows, shorelines of waters, cities and urban green spaces.
We all know that the bald eagle is the official bird and symbol of the United States of America. So which bird is the national bird of Canada?
There seems to be some controversy about Canada’s National bird, in fact we don’t have one. Oddly enough Canada has never named a National bird. There are some birds that are fighting for this glorious title. Among them are: Canada Goose, Common Loon, Red Tailed Hawk, Grey Jay and Tundra Swan. In the very near future, this could all change according to the Canadian Raptor Conservancy which has been lobbying Members of Parliament and the federal government.
To date they have collected over 200,000 signatures and over 3,000 suggestions. The conservancy’s executive director, James Cowan, favours the hawk as his personal pick since it is a raptor and they are biased towards raptors. One of the criteria that have been put forth is that we should not allow a bird species that has already been chosen as a Canadian provincial bird or another country’s National bird. This knocks out a lot of the leading contenders. Here is a list of birds of Canada’s provinces and territories:
British Columbia Steller’s Jay
Alberta Great Horned Owl
Saskatchewan Sharp Tailed Grouse
Manitoba Great Grey Owl
Ontario Common Loon
Quebec Snowy Owl
New Brunswick Black Capped Chickadee
Nova Scotia Osprey
Prince Edward Island Blue Jay
Newfoundland Atlantic Puffin
Northwest Territories Gyrfalcon
Nunavut Rock Ptarmigan
Given the rules, many of the top 10 will be eliminated, leaving the red-tailed hawk and Canada goose as the top picks.
What would you like Canada’s National Bird to be?