City council voted in favour Wednesday of holding a vote to choose an official bird for Calgary.
Bird Friendly Calgary consulted with Indigenous groups and had a call for nominations to narrow down the contenders to five: Blue Jay, Black-billed Magpie, Northern Flicker, Black-capped Chickadee and Red-breasted Nuthatch.
Voting opens Wednesday, March 30 and will run until May 1. The winner will be announced May 14.
A city committee endorsed the idea on March 15 but it needed to be approved by council as a whole.
Cornell University researchers found the North American bird population has declined by about 3 billion birds in the last 50 years. That encouraged Nature Canada to ask cities to do whatever they could to protect birds and educate citizens.
One of the requirements of being a certified Bird Friendly City — which Calgary is — is to name an official bird.
“Doing so encourages citizens to become more aware of the plight of birds that visit or reside in the city, and take tangible action to support biodiversity,” Bird Friendly Calgary said in a news release Wednesday.
“With a public vote, Calgarians can select a species they connect with, and it encourages engagement that could lead to a better understanding of biodiversity loss and the simple actions we can all take to reverse it.
“Birds are such a visible part of our worlds that they provide the perfect starting point.”