Strathcona County has been certified as a 'bird-friendly city' by Nature Canada. 

The county becomes just the 12th municipality in Canada to earn the designation. 

Emily Kabotoff, an environmental analyst with the county, is excited to see the area recognized. 

"We have a lot of policies that we've implemented that have really helped promote bird habitats," said Kabotoff. 

Kabotoff says her department was stirred to action after hearing that there are about three billion fewer wild birds in North America today compared to 50 years ago. 

"It's about promoting that our communities are not just for humans, but for the environment as well," said Kabotoff. "Birds play an essential role in maintaining our healthy and resilient ecosystems in our communities and beyond." 

"Birds offer so many benefits from helping insect populations or offering so much personal enjoyment... they are part of our greater ecosystem." 

What the county has done to facilitate a bird-friendly environment is broad, from simple initiatives such as promoting World Migratory Bird Day to physical changes.

"The increased naturalization areas around our stormwater ponds and looking at our tree and wetland conservation directive," said Kabotoff.  

Residents in the county can expect more action by the county to protect birds. Kabatoff mentions that the recent GEARS cat shelter pilot project will help keep stray cats off the streets which, in turn, will cause fewer birds to be attacked by cats.

"We will also be looking to identify or designate a community bird," said Kabotoff. 

Residents who are interested in learning about what they can do to become more bird-friendly are asked to visit the Strathcona County website

The county partnered with the Beaver Hills Biosphere Reserve Association, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and the University of Alberta-Augustana campus to help bring the designation to the county.