Excitement builds as two Ontario cities, Hamilton and Burlington, wrap up their applications in the process of becoming a Certified Bird Friendly City. A collective Bird Team for both Hamilton and Burlington has been working tirelessly to ensure a safe haven for birds in both cities.
Barry Coombs and Sara Shwadchuck, the co-chairs of Bird Friendly Hamilton Burlington, are hard at work ensuring that they become Canada’s next Nature Canada Certified Bird Friendly City.
What was the inspiration behind starting a Bird team in Hamilton and Burlington? “I’m an avid birder. I always enjoy seeing new and rare birds but participation in many bird counts and surveys has been very rewarding and has offered me a way to give something back to birds and our ecosystem. I jumped at the opportunity to join our Bird Friendly team and work with” says Barry.
The Bird Team in Hamilton/Burlington is made up of passionate activists, birders, volunteers and leaders from various organizations such as Burlington Green Environmental Association, Environment Hamilton and Hobbitsee Wildlife Refuge.
A few of their outreach tactics so far on their Bird Friendly City journey include:
- A letter campaign asking individuals to write to their city councillors to urge them to adopt bird-safe building standards
- Community awareness of their multiple Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
- Leading and participating in Global Bird Rescue events
- Bird Feeder Long-Term Care Project with Hobbitsee Wildlife Refuge at over 50 locations
- Developed an informative presentation on birding for the Hamilton Public Library system
- Organized World Migratory Bird Day events
- Delegated to Council committees in Hamilton and Burlington
Currently, the City of Hamilton is considering an increase to its urban boundary, which is a huge threat to bird species in the area as urban sprawl and habitat loss can lead to large bird declines.
The Hamilton/Burlington Bird Team has delegated to the Planning Committee in opposition to this proposal. The team has also delegated and written to Council members and the Planning Department to advocate the use of bird-friendly window covers and other measures in site planning to keep bird conservation at the forefront.