We are the Bird Friendly Halifax coalition, a group of like-minded environmental organizations, researchers, citizen scientists, and bird lovers trying to make HRM a friendlier place for our avian neighbours. You can help!
Our goal: In 2022, following an in-depth review of the city’s strengths and weaknesses in bird conservation, our group applied to Nature Canada for official Bird Friendly City status. HRM was declared an Entry-level Bird Friendly City that fall. We are now working to improve this status by addressing priority bird threats in our city, including but not limited to: habitat loss, predation by roaming cats, and window strikes.
Who We Are: Our coalition includes representatives from Birds Canada, Ecology Action Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax Regional Municipality, Hope for Wildlife, Nature Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Bird Society, and bird loving private citizens.
How we’re going to achieve our goal: 1) Continue to assess just how “bird friendly” existing city infrastructure, programs, and planning is on an annual basis, 2) Engage a network of stakeholders who can help improve our status (including organizations, decision makers, and the public), and 3) Complete actions together that reduce bird threats and improve local stewardship.
What we’ve done so far: We held a panel discussion about the state of HRM’s birds during the Nature Nova Scotia Celebration of Nature in May 2021, where we learned about the threat of window-strikes, cats, and issues with habitat connectivity. Meeting regularly with coalition members in the months after, we discussed these gaps at the city level and what actions might be taken to create solutions. In May 2022, Halifax Regional Council agreed to adopt the Bird Friendly Halifax movement and contribute staff resources to our group’s work. We summarized our assessment of HRM’s “bird friendliness” in an application to Nature Canada and secured Bird Friendly entry-level status in late 2022. Meanwhile, our group has collaborated on a number of projects to improve our understanding of birds in HRM and contribute to strengthened protection. In early 2022, Drs. Amy Mui and Cindy Staicer of Dalhousie University initiated a collaboration with Hope for Wildlife to better understand bird admission trends over the history of Hope for Wildlife’s patient database. We look forward to their results! Nature Nova Scotia launched Operation Window Strike around the same time, engaging residents in the Halifax core in stewardship through mitigating window strikes, and plan to extend the project into 2023 to reach more homes. The Nova Scotia Bird Society began planning citizen science walks to better understand urban bird mortality. We launched an annual City Bird poll, asking Haligonians to pick their favourite feathered friend to feature as our mascot for on an annual basis. In 2023, we expanded on past spring events to launch the first annual Halifax Bird Week, drawing hundreds of Haligonians to local green spaces to learn about the birds in their communities.
What’s Next: We want to improve HRM’s Bird Friendly City status. As of the 2022 designation, HRM had just 28 out of a possible 50 points in Nature Canada’s Bird Friendly Cities Scoring Rubric, just enough for Entry-level status. Over 2023-2024 we are working on several collaborative projects to improve bird protections and move us towards Intermediate Bird Friendly City status, including:
- Recommendations for incorporating bird-friendly design considerations into HRM’s Red Book
- More anti-window-strike kits for residences in urban, suburban, and rural HRM
- Facilitated meetings with national and other partners to learn from other jurisdictions with progressive light pollution mitigation measures and bird-friendly design guidelines
- A bird-friendly design demonstration site, including native plants and educational signage
You can help!
Join us! Want to join us for our next coalition meeting? Have an idea for a project that would make HRM more bird friendly? Sign up for emails, follow along on Facebook, comment below, or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org