Bird Team Spotlight: Hamilton/Burlington, Ontario

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.

Dave Tourchin is another member of both Burlington Green and the Hamilton/Burlington Bird Friendly City Team. Dave facilitates  litter clean-ups, tree plantings, and invasive species removals in his community. 
With her passion and ten years of experience in environmental education and restoration work, Erica Forrest brings a variety of amazing skills to the Hamilton/Burlington Bird Friendly Cities team!
Kelly Spanik is Burlington Green’s participating member on the Bird Friendly Hamilton Burlington team. 
Peter Ormond is not only a member of the Hamilton Burlington Bird Team but his passion for conservation and biodiversity can be seen in his writing, radio show hosting and Fringe play writes.
Bob Bell is another amazing member of the Hamilton/Burlington Bird Friendly City Team. Bob ​​is a passionate birder and thoroughly enjoys sharing and teaching his love of birds with people of all skill levels, and enjoys introducing them to the huge variety of beautiful birds that can be seen in the Hamilton and Burlington areas.
Sara Shwadchuck is the co-chair of the Hamilton/Burlington Bird Friendly City Team alongside Barry Coombs. Sara was also a volunteer coordinator for Hamilton FalconWatch and the team lead for Global Bird Rescue the past two seasons.

A few of their outreach tactics so far on their Bird Friendly City journey include:

  1. A letter campaign asking individuals to write to their city councillors to urge them to adopt bird-safe building standards 
  2. Community awareness of their multiple Important Bird Areas (IBAs) 
  3. Leading and participating in Global Bird Rescue events 
  4. Bird Feeder Long-Term Care Project with Hobbitsee Wildlife Refuge at over 50 locations
  5. Developed an informative presentation on birding for the Hamilton Public Library system 
  6. Organized World Migratory Bird Day events 
  7. 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. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Hamilton/Burlington Bird Team’s efforts or would like to become a Bird Team member yourself, please follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! 

The post Bird Team Spotlight: Hamilton/Burlington, Ontario appeared first on Nature Canada.

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