Why birds are important to Vancouver and our environment
Birds are important to our ecosystem. They provide pest control, pollination, and spread seeds. They also enrich our lives with their sound and beauty.
Vancouver and the Fraser River Delta are an important and major stop on the Pacific Flyway, a bird migration route that stretches from Alaska to South America along the Pacific Coast. The delta’s shorelines and forests create rich habitats for migratory and native birds.
But because of human settlement, industry, and forestry, there has been a 35% decline in characteristic bird species in the Pacific Coast region of Canada since 1970. With over 250 species of resident, migratory, and overwintering birds regularly observed in Metro Vancouver, it is our responsibility to reduce the impact of urbanization on birds.
How we will create a city where native birds can thrive
The actions of the City, Park Board, residents, businesses, and institutions in Vancouver have a considerable impact on whether birds thrive within the city. To support urban bird populations, we will:
- Support habitat by protecting, enhancing, and creating habitats for a diversity of native birds
- Reduce threats to birds in the urban environment
- Enhance access to nature for residents and visitors to Vancouver
- Enhance awareness of the importance of birds and their needs to the community
- Increase tourism by encouraging bird tourism and related economic development opportunities
Benefits to implementing the strategy
Implementing the Vancouver Bird Strategy has important economic, social, and environmental benefits for Vancouver.
Beyond the link between birds and people and local biodiversity, birds perform important services to our ecosystem, they:
- Disperse seeds
- Consume vast numbers of insects
- Reduce the transmission of disease
- Provide pest control and pollination services for horticulture, agriculture, and forestry
Increasing interest in nature tourism offers new economic opportunities for Vancouver. Birding tourism contributes to local economies. In 2009, $36 billion was spent on birding tourism in the United States.
Birds like chatty Black-capped Chickadees, trilling Song Sparrows, soaring Bald Eagles, and colourful Rufous Hummingbirds animate our city. Their songs, flight, and colour connect us to nature, physically and emotionally.
We partnered with the following organizations to develop the Vancouver Bird Strategy:
- Bird Studies Canada
- Environment Canada
- Nature Vancouver
- Pacific Wildlife Foundation
- Stanley Park Ecology Society
- Tourism Vancouver
- UBC Greenest City Scholar Program
- Vancouver Artists Studio Residencies in Parks
- Vancouver Public Library
- Vancouver School Board
- Vancouver School Board