This topic has been floating around a good part of this year... Canada should have a national bird and what should it be?
The Canadian Raptor Conservancy started a petition back in the summer and are trying to collect 200,000 signatures to present to the government on this subject.
Here are our provincial birds along with some other countries national birds...
- Common Loon : provincial bird of Ontario
- Snowy Owl : provincial bird of Quebec
- Great Horned Owl : provincial bird of Alberta
- Great Grey Owl : provincial bird of Manitoba
- Steller’s Jay : provincial bird of British Columbia
- Black-capped Chickadee : provincial bird of New Brunswick
- Atlantic Puffin : provincial bird of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Osprey : provincial bird of Nova Scotia
- Blue Jay : provincial bird of Prince Edward Island
- Sharp-tailed Grouse : provincial bird of Saskatchewan
- Gyr Falcon : territorial bird of the Northwest Territories
- Rock Ptarmigan : territorial bird of Nunavut
- Common Raven : territorial bird of Yukon
- Bald Eagle : national bird of the United States of America
- Golden Eagle : national bird of Russia
- Crested Caracara : national bird of Mexico
So, trying to exclude those choices above; what do you think would be a great choice for Canada as a whole? Suggestions so far include the Red Tailed Hawk, the Canada Goose, Trumpeter Swan, Common Loon, Short Beaked Crow, Rock Dove (common Pigeon), Great Blue Heron, Snow Goose, Snowy Owl, and the Grey Jay (Whiskey Jack).
I would rule out Common Loon and Snowy Owl immediately as they are provincial birds for Ontario and Quebec already. I won't even get into the whole Harry Potter craze and how his Owl is a Snowy Owl bit.
Whoever suggested the Rock Dove (common Pigeon) must have been kidding. I mean seriously. Nothing against Pigeons, they are a source of entertainment in city parks but not much more than that. They are everywhere, and no offence to Pigeon admirers out there... but they are a nuisance overall. I don't categorize Mourning Doves in the same class as a Pigeon; but even a Mourning Dove would not make my list of the possible National Bird of Canada. Gentle and peaceful creatures as they may be, much like Canadians in general; they don't seem like a bird to represent a country.
The Snow Goose would also be cut from my list. It's bad enough how much of our southern friends have this idea about Canada as it is... throwing the Snow Goose as our National Bird would just add to the stereotype of Canada being a snow and ice covered land, and a place not to venture to unless one wishes to freeze to death, stay in an igloo and possibly get eaten by a Polar Bear.
The Short-Beaked Crow could be a possibility. It is a highly intelligent creature. It's brain size to body size is one of the largest in the world of birds. We'd like to think of ourselves as an intelligent bunch. Would the superstitious approve? I don't know how many times in my life I have heard someone tell me they have seen the presence of a Crow and a loved one (family or friend) soon dies.
Now, how about the Great Blue Heron? A majestic creature by all means. A rather prehistoric looking one as well (not that it matters). But, in my personal opinion, the Heron, to me, represents a water bird (Herons live by lakes and ponds). It would be more suited to be a provincial bird for one of our coastal provinces.
I would feel the same going for the Trumpeter Swan. A bird of water should not represent a land mass being Canada.
So, as the list winds down we have the Gray Jay as another possibility. It seems Gray Jays can be found in almost every province across Canada. I have never seen a Gray Jay. My problem with this choice is it's size. It's not a very large bird. Something to represent our country should be on the larger scale of a bird species. An ideal candidate to represent a province but not a country.
How about the Canada Goose? It's a large bird. Everybody knows what a Canada Goose is. Everybody must have seen one. Even our American friends know what a Canada Goose is. That Goose has Canada in it's name... it's perfect! I would agree with that choice, and I did, right up until some conversing with the fellow at the Canadian Raptor Conservancy. He sold me on eliminating this choice. Why? Well, what is the National Bird of the United States of America? The Bald Eagle. Do you know what one of the main choices of diet be for the Bald Eagle? If you said "Canada Goose", you are most certainly correct. Do we really want our National Bird of Canada to be the one that the United States National Bird consumes on a regular basis? I don't think it's a matter of choice/preference for the Bald Eagle to pick on the Canada Goose... it's probably more due to the over abundance of Canada Geese available.
So, this leaves us with my last option that comes to mind. The Red Tailed Hawk. A larger scale of bird. It is a bird that is respected. It is a bird that can be found in every one of our provinces. It is a bird that has no natural enemies.
A graceful flying bird but one not to be messed with.
What do you think? I think this may very well be the perfect choice for our country.
For more information on this, simply Google the topic National Bird of Canada or visit the Canadian Raptor Conservancy's website here
Lastly, please note, I borrowed all images via Google. I do have pics of most of these birds noted that I have taken myself but are either just not clear enough or lost in the 1000's of images within the computer.