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Calgarians could soon vote for Calgary's official bird

Calgarians could soon be able to choose what the city's official bird will be.

Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner brought forward a notice of motion on Tuesday that proposed council designate an official bird – and it be left to citizens to decide which one.

Penner's notice of motion comes after Calgary was named a Bird Friendly City by Nature Canada last year, one of four across the nation.

To obtain the designation, a city must meet several targets including reducing human-related threats to birds, habitat protection, restoration and climate resiliency, and thirdly, community outreach and education. Another requirement is that an official bird must be chosen.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to talk about the biodiversity in our city," Penner said as she introduced the motion.

After consulting with local Indigenous groups and nature organizations, a volunteer group called Bird Friendly Calgary created a list of five birds for Calgarians to choose from: the black-capped chickadee, black-billed magpie, northern flicker, red-breasted nuthatch and blue jay.

"Regrettably, I must note that Turk (Calgary's infamous urban turkey, may he rest in peace) didn't make the list … And no Canada Geese, who used to torment people outside city hall, I've been told," Penner joked.

Penner's notice of motion was approved by a vote of 13 to 1, with only Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu voting against.

It will now go to a March 29 meeting of council for a final vote.

If approved, Calgarians will be able to vote for one of the five feathered candidates online from April 1 to May 1.

The winning bird would be announced on May 14 to coincide with World Migratory Bird Day, before council would make it official during a combined meeting of council in June.

According to Nature Canada’s website, over the past five decades, North American bird populations have dropped by more than 25 per cent. Taking a closer look, that is about three billion birds – many of which live among humans – that are gone. Top Stories

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