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Richmond Hill’s efforts to protect bird populations soar to new heights

'Bird Friendly City’ designation by Nature Canada recognizes municipalities that care for dwindling bird populations
Nov. 20, 2023
Melissa Wallace

Nature Canada officially designated Richmond Hill a “Bird Friendly City,” recognizing initiatives to raise awareness and protect declining bird populations in North America.

“On behalf of Nature Canada, we are ecstatic for the City of Richmond Hill in becoming the country's 21st municipality to become Bird Friendly City Certified,” said Autumn Jordan, Nature Canada. “This announcement demonstrates the commitment Richmond Hill, volunteers and community organizations are taking to ensure that bird populations and biodiversity continues to thrive within the city.

“Birds are important for measuring environmental conditions and help our ecosystems thrive in a variety of ways, from pollination to pest control, as well as culture and recreation.”

In the last 50 years, North American bird populations have declined by 25 per cent (3 billion birds) largely due to human activities, according to information in the city’s press release.

Richmond Hill is home to more than 115 bird species and has established a “Bird Team” of community volunteers to raise awareness about threats to birds and how residents can protect them.

As part of the City of Richmond Hill's “Greening the Hill” environment strategy, displays like this one at Centennial Pool in August educated the public about caring for birds.

Other initiatives include planting, protecting and restoring native trees and woodlands on public property; regulating the planting, maintenance and removal of trees on private property through the tree preservation bylaw; planting and maintaining pollinator gardens; reducing threats from domestic cats through animal control bylaws; and encouraging bird-safe design and reduced light pollution in new developments through the Sustainability Metrics Program.

“We are proud of our efforts to be a safe haven for our feathered friends,” said Mayor David West. “I want to thank Nature Canada for the recognition and support.

“The Bird Friendly Cities initiative not only has tangible benefits for birds and the environment, but will help to raise citizen awareness, so we can work together to build a community where humans and wildlife can live in harmony.”

Learn more about the city’s action plan to reduce threats to birds at