Saturday is World Migratory Bird Day and Vancouver Park Board is celebrating the birds of Vancouver.
“Birds are a vital component of biodiversity in Vancouver,” board chair Stuart Mackinnon said in a press release. “From feeding on insect pests and filling our neighbourhoods with their melodic songs, birds are also a barometer of the ecological health of our city.”
On Thursday the board installed a giant bird banner under the Granville Street bridge. The banner illustrates the native birds found in and around False Creek — Canada goose, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Great Blue Heron, Horned Grebe, Northwest Crow, gulls, cormorants, bald eagle and the city’s official bird, Anna’s hummingbird.
False Creek, as well as English Bay and Burrard Inlet are designated as an “important bird area” by Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada.
The banner, designed by Banquet Design, is 17 metres long and three metres wide and will serve to welcome delegates and visitors to a major international ornithological conference being held in Vancouver this summer. The city will host the Vancouver International Bird Festival and the 27th International Ornithological Congress Aug. 19 to 26.
To mark World Migratory Bird Day on Saturday, the park board, in partnership with the city, the Vancouver International Bird Festival, Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada, is hosting a series of free bird walking tours across the city.
“They are a fantastic opportunity to witness the annual songbird migration with expert bird guides,” the board said in a press release.
There are six walks to choose from:
- The Sanctuary in Hastings Park: 7-9 a.m. or 9-11 a.m.
- Trout Lake: 8-10 a.m.
- Queen Elizabeth Park: 9-11 a.m.
- Musqueam Park: 9-11 a.m.
- Jericho Beach Park: 9-11 a.m.
- Stanley Park: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The banner and Saturday’s events are just some of the many bird-themed initiatives supported by the park board, including a newly opened backyard bird garden at VanDusen Botanical Garden and the live-streaming Heron Cam in Stanley Park, which captured the hatching of the first chicks of the Pacific Blue Heron colony this week.
In the meantime, the Vancouver International Bird Festival is counting down the days before it joins forces with the 27th International Ornithological Congress to highlight birding opportunities throughout the Lower Mainland from August 19 to 26. Plans and various ways to get involved, including volunteer opportunities, can be found on its website.