Strathcona County has officially received its “Bird Friendly City” designation and has become the 12th municipality in Canada to do so. 

Nature Canada made the announcement on Thursday (May 12). 

“We are so very pleased to be Bird-Friendly certified. Strathcona County’s Environmental Framework identifies declining bird populations as a persistent issue, and we are committed to taking action,” stated Strathcona County mayor Rod Frank. 

“Thank you to our staff, partners and residents who continue to contribute to addressing threats to our wild bird populations.” 

The county has been working toward certification for a while. It has taken steps such as committing $100,000 toward a cat shelter pilot program and creating a “Bird Friendly Team” to oversee projects that protect local birds. 

Strathcona County will also proclaim May 14 as World Migratory Bird Day, which promotes initiatives that protect migratory birds. This year’s theme, “Dim the Lights for Birds at Night”, calls attention to the impact of light pollution on migratory birds. 

As a light efficient community, Strathcona County has policies to reduce light pollution and increase access to dark night-time skies. In addition, part of the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve resides in the county and is home to over 200 bird species, some of which migrate nocturnally. 

“Strathcona County has taken an important step in merging interests of the environment with human interests. Creating a thriving environment for birds helps them survive in a rapidly-changing world but also provides important benefits for people,” said Glen Hvenegaard with the Bird Friendly Team. 

North American Bird populations have been declining over the last few decades, primarily due to human activity. According to Nature Canada, there are three billion fewer birds in North America today than 50 years ago.