About the National Bird Project
At Canadian Geographic, we think it’s time Canada had a bird to call its own.
As Editor Aaron Kylie pointed out in the January/February 2015 issue, this country has a national arboreal emblem (the maple tree), a national horse (the Canadian), two national sports (lacrosse and hockey) and an animal (the beaver) that is a national symbol. But in nearly 150 years as a nation — and despite the fact that 450 avian species have habitat in Canada — an official national bird has never been named.
To that end, we created this, the National Bird Project, to give Canadians the opportunity to vote for a species they believe would best represent them and their land (and skies).
This is not the first time a Canadian organization has launched an initiative of this sort (the Canadian Raptor Conservancy has an online petition, by which you can suggest a species for national bird), our aim was to reignite the discussion, featuring a number of reader-submitted essays here as well as fresh national bird tournament-related content in future issues of the magazine. Authors Will Ferguson, Charlotte Gray, Alissa York and Noah Richler started us off with their strong cases for the Canada goose, osprey, great gray owl and common raven. Ornithologist David Bird made a persuasive case for the gray jay, and TV personalities, science writers, novelists and conservationists — even painter Robert Bateman — followed suit with their own choices. See those essays and videos here.
Remember, we’ll be proclaiming the winner in Canadian Geographic’s next annual wildlife issue (on newsstands November 21), then promoting the bird to be made official in time for the country’s 150th bash in 2017.