As Canada celebrates National Bird Day on Jan. 5, Nancy Golinia of the Prince Rupert Wildlife Rehab Shelter said there’s no place like this city when it comes to caring for avians.
“There’s a lot of compassion for birds in Rupert,” Golinia said.
The national day was established in 2002 by the Avian Welfare Coalition and aimed to raise awareness about birds and the harmful effects of the illegal bird trade. It highlights the importance of the species in the Earth’s ecosystems.
In B.C., residents can take a moment to look out the window or go for a cold walk in their local park to appreciate on this day all birds who make this province home, such as the provincial bird, the Stellar’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri).
Golinia has seen residents taking extra steps this year to ensure the safety and comfort of birds, especially during this particularly cold winter.
People have been putting out hummingbird feeders with heaters or lamps and adding extra sugar in them to provide those crucial calories during this frigid season, she said. Heated blankets made for pets have been particularly effective for birds and other animals over the past several weeks.
Over the past 32 years, Golinia has seen the love, and care Rupertites have for the flighted animals through her work at the shelter. However, she has also witnessed a decline in the numbers of some birds in the region.
“We’re losing a lot of them,” she said. “Rupert used to have a lot of white-crowned sparrows, in amongst with the golden-crowned sparrows, and I only saw one white-crowned sparrow this year.”
You can’t blame the decline on the Prince Rupert cat population because more windows injure birds than the felines do, she said, when birds fly into the clear glass.
Peculiarly, Canada does not have a national bird to celebrate, like many other countries do, leaving it to the provinces to name their own.
The other provincial birds are the great horned owl for Alberta, sharp-tailed grouse in Saskatchewan, great gray owl for Manitoba, the common loon in Ontario, snowy owl in Quebec, the black-capped chickadee in New Brunswick, the osprey in Nova Scotia, Atlantic puffin in Newfoundland and Labrador, blue jay for Prince Edward Island, common raven for Yukon, gyrfalcon in Northwest Territories and rock ptarmigan in Nunavut.
Norman Galimski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View