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National Bird Project - Vote for Canada's National Bird
National Bird Project - Vote for Canada's National Bird

Welcome to the National Bird Project

Help us determine Canada’s national bird!

There are more than 450 species of birds across Canada, but not one of them has been designated as our national bird — a title that for too long hasn’t been made official. In 2015, the team at Canadian Geographic magazine decided it was time to change that.

Welcome to the National Bird Project, the goal of which is to help designate an official bird for Canada by 2017, the country’s sesquicentennial. In the first phase of the project, we asked Canadians to help find a species that could represent this nation of forest, prairie grassland, Arctic and sub-Arctic, maritime and wetland, agricultural and urban areas and many other habitats, and tens of thousands answered that call, voting for their favourite species and contributing thought-provoking and convincing comments, many of which were moving or funny. Canadians, it’s clear, love their birds.

Voting closed on August 31, 2016. Canada’s top five favourite birds, as decided by popular vote, are shown below.


The Royal Canadian Geographical Society convened a panel of experts on September 19, 2016, to advocate for the declaration of a National Bird and to debate which species they believe are most worthy of the honour. Read about the debate here or watch the video below.

Panellists for this Can Geo Talks event included

Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, provided opening remarks about why birds are important to Canadians.

The debate continues on Twitter and Instagram: use the hashtag #canadabird to join the conversation.


The Royal Canadian Geographical Society will make its official recommendation for Canada’s National Bird at its College of Fellows Annual Dinner on Nov. 16, 2016, and a feature story about Canada’s national bird will appear in the December 2016 issue of Canadian Geographic. Get it on newsstands  Nov. 21, or subscribe today.


The Top 5

13995 votes

Common loon

8948 votes

Snowy owl

7918 votes

Gray jay / Whiskey jack

3616 votes

Canada goose

3324 votes

Black-capped chickadee

Browse through all of the birds that were in the running below:


7918 votes

Gray jay / Whiskey jack

3324 votes

Black-capped chickadee

1680 votes

Common raven

1037 votes

Blue jay

226 votes

Red-winged blackbird

193 votes

Canada warbler

171 votes

White-throated sparrow

121 votes

Cedar waxwing

103 votes

Pine grosbeak

99 votes

Dark-eyed junco

59 votes

Tree swallow

36 votes

Harris's sparrow

24 votes

Brown-headed cowbird

Upland and Game Birds

174 votes

Spruce grouse

131 votes

Rock ptarmigan

84 votes

Ruffed grouse

34 votes

Sharp-tailed grouse

Wading Birds, Gulls and Shorebirds

617 votes

Great blue heron

431 votes

Arctic tern

128 votes

Whooping crane

50 votes

Sandhill crane

Woodpeckers and Hummingbirds

353 votes

Pileated woodpecker

246 votes

Ruby-throated hummingbird

79 votes

Northern flicker

35 votes

Black-backed woodpecker

Loons, Waterfowl and Seabirds

13995 votes

Common loon

3616 votes

Canada goose

764 votes

Atlantic puffin

146 votes

Belted kingfisher

52 votes

Tundra swan

44 votes

Bufflehead (duck)

21 votes

Common murre


8948 votes

Snowy owl

538 votes

Red-tailed hawk

346 votes

Peregrine falcon

311 votes

Great gray owl

245 votes


198 votes

Golden eagle

195 votes

Northern saw-whet owl

68 votes


59 votes

Northern goshawk



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