The votes are ready. Calgary’s official bird is…

After collecting over 36,000 votes, the City of Calgary announced which bird will officially represent the city ⁠: the Black-headed Chickadee.

The little bird came in first of five birds, capturing a healthy 44 percent of the vote.

The black-billed magpie was second with 24 percent of the vote, the northern flicker was third, the blue jay fourth, and the red-breasted nuthatch fifth.

On Saturday’s ad on a bluff overlooking the Weaselhead Natural Area in southwest Calgary, Coun. Kourtney Penner (who proclaimed that she has been the girl on the team all this time) said that the bird vote received more comments than the Olympics.

The black-headed chickadee will be named the official bird of Calgary at the city council meeting on June 7. (Sara Jordan-McLachlan)

“I think regardless of who the winner was, what we saw was that Calgarians really took a moment to stop and appreciate the wildlife that we have in the city, appreciate some birds. We saw an incredible commitment to this.” , said.

“I know the magpie was hotly contested and there were a lot of people who said the magpie is the bird that we really deserve, and the chickadee is the bird that we aspire to, but I will say I think Calgarians will be [ok with] The vote.”

In 2021, Calgary became one of the first cities in the country to be certified by Nature Canada as bird-friendly.

The city has partnered with Bird Friendly Calgary and Nature Canada to host a bird vote during the month of April to promote this certification.

Bird Friendly Calgary said they reached out to all Treaty 7 nations, Metis Region 3 and birding groups to select the five birds that were voted on.

John McFaul, president of the Bird Friendly Calgary team, said city bylaws, like those related to lighting, are what make the city better for birds.

“I think overall we’re not doing badly, because the thing about Calgary, which is really cool, is we have a lot of nice natural areas that provide homes for these birds.”

According to the city, North America has lost about three billion birds in the last 50 years due to a series of threats.

Corinne Eagletail-Frazier, a councilor for the Tsuut’ina Nation, said the birds are valuable to many First Nations.

“We see them as messengers and healers,” he said.

Eagletail-Frazier was surprised by the amount of turnout the vote garnered.

“I didn’t realize how much interest and respect there was for birds. It was an honor to be part of the initiative.”

Count Kourtney Penner said she has been the girl on the team since the first day of voting. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Penner hopes the bird vote will help draw attention to the need to protect Calgary’s roughly 200 bird species.

“It is important to protect that diversity of natural areas in our city.”

The black-headed chickadee will be recognized as Calgary’s official bird at the June 7 city council meeting.

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