A small Canadian city has failed in its bid to be designated “bird friendly” – and the reasons will be of interest to all of us who want to protect birds and natural ecosystems.

Sault Ste. Marie, in the province of Ontario, hoped to gain the 32 points needed for entry-level Bird Friendly certification by the non-profit group Nature Canada. The city council took several steps towards that goal, including adopting the black-capped chickadee as its official bird, but still fell 10 points short.

As reported by sootoday.com, there were several weaknesses in the application, including three related to cats:

  • no official municipal strategy to reduce populations of unowned (feral) cats and mitigate their threat to birds (e.g. removing feral colonies from areas of high bird importance)
  • no municipal promotion of the no-roam bylaw
  • no cat counting or estimating protocol to establish baseline numbers

The city also failed to satisfactorily address issues such as birds hitting buildings, light pollution and protecting natural areas.

Photo: Black-capped chickadee by Jack Bulmer