The selection process for the national bird of Canada involves a number of factors. Experts, including conservationists, ornithologists, and other experts, debated the merits of each finalist.
They weighed factors such as geographic distribution and exclusiveness to Canada. Species that are only found in Canada are especially worthy of the designation as national bird.
Ultimately, the panel selected the three finalists who will represent Canada well in favitourism and national identity.
What will I learn?
The Eastern Bluebird is one of Canada’s most beautiful songbirds. Their song is comprised of a series of notes from one to three, and they typically sing several times.
During the winter, they eat berries and spend a lot of time in low-lying tree branches. These songbirds live in eastern North America, but migrate to the southern United States for the mating season.
You can learn more about these bluebirds by watching a video submitted by Arlene Marley.
The Eastern Bluebird has a bright orange throat and front sides of the neck and a white belly. The female has a paler version of the male and is similar to the male in appearance.
In western Canada, the Mountain Bluebird is found in portions of Alaska and the Rocky Mountains. Female mountain bluebirds are less colourful than males. They have blue tails and brown wings. Mountain Bluebirds are the most common in B.C.
The Eastern Bluebird breeds throughout Canada. It is found in numerous habitat types, including wooded areas and wetlands.
Its diet consists primarily of insects during the breeding season. During the summer, it eats fruit. The Eastern Bluebird nests individually or in loose colonies. Their eggs are laid from March 27 to August 11.
The Mountain Bluebird sometimes migrates alone but more often, they travel in flocks of fifty or more. They are slow to move, and stop to feed often.
You can sometimes find them strung along a barbed-wire fence looking for seeds. These birds are highly aggressive and sit at least one meter apart from each other while picking tasty morsels. The first flight of a young bluebird can travel up to 100 meters.
Great blue heron
The Great Blue Heron of Canada is a beautiful bird with a distinctive color pattern and an elongated neck. Its long bill makes it a formidable predator. They hunt during the day and night, waiting patiently for prey to come to them.
Their diet is mainly fish, but they also take in frogs, small mammals, and other birds. In flight, these birds look majestic, with their legs trailing behind them.
The Great Blue Heron is a species of bird found in southern Canada. There are five recognized subspecies, including the fannini, which lives in British Columbia.
Although the species is generally secure in Canada, the fannini subspecies is listed as a species of special concern. Its habitat is varied and needs a nearby source of water. Although considered a secure species in North America, its population is at risk from human activity.
While the Great Blue Heron of Canada has relatively few natural predators, it is susceptible to attacks from eagles and other birds of prey.
In addition to fish, this species feeds on small mammals in meadows, and even mice from agricultural fields. These predators are highly sensitive to disturbance, which makes scientists recommend that development be avoided within 300 m of heron colonies.
In addition to habitat destruction, great blue herons are also threatened by infilling of wetlands.
While the Great Blue Heron of Canada may be an attractive and rare bird to see, it is still a migratory bird and is found throughout the continent.
While it spends the winter in coastal areas of southern North America and central and northern South America, the bird migrates to the lower Pacific coast. It is also found in Mexico, Honduras, and Cuba, and it has been observed in the Galapagos Islands.
The Western Kingbird of Canada is a large flycatcher with yellow and gray plumage, which is easily distinguishable from other species of kingbird.
The species breeds in open areas of western North America and is also found in southern Mexico and the Pacific coast.
They migrate in large flocks to tropical areas of central and southern America, where they spend the winter. Their evocative “kit” calls are recognizable by their quick, rapid notes.
The Western Kingbird of Canada is a migrant and regular breeder, found in western United States and southern parts of Canada.
It nests on buildings, manmade structures, and in open fields. The male defends its territory with a long, repetitive song. He also performs rapid sputtering calls and performs vertical zigzags.
Its population is declining, so it is important to learn about conservation methods.
The Western Kingbird of Canada’s breeding range extends from southern Texas to eastern Canada, and westward to the Pinewoods in eastern Texas.
Although its overall population in Texas is increasing, it has decreased in some areas, including the eastern Panhandle and the Trans-Pecos.
The birds often nest near cultivated land, such as corn fields, so exposure to pesticides and other contaminants poses a significant threat.
Adults and juveniles differ in appearance. Both have gray heads and masks, but the adult is generally duller in appearance.
The male has a red central crown patch hidden behind its mask, while the female has a white throat. Its wing coverts are also dark brown and the underparts are pale. The male also has a dark tail tip. Its sex is dependent on its environment.
The Yellow-throated Vireo is a medium-sized bird with a strikingly yellow breast and gray tail. Its dark eyes and yellow spectacles make it easy to distinguish from its Philadelphia Vireo cousin.
This species breeds mainly in southern Canada and the eastern United States, but it also migrates to Mexico and Central America. Unlike many other species of vireo, it can be found in forests ranging from open deciduous woods to mature pine forests.
The Yellow-throated Vireo lives in the tropical forests of the Caribbean, northwestern and central America. It also has vagrant populations in Ireland.
This bird can be found in forested areas, plantations, and urban areas, but it is rare in the northern U.S. The species is in decline in the west and eastern parts of its range due to the use of pesticides to control Dutch Elms disease.
The Yellow-throated Vireo breeds in southern Canada and southern parts of the eastern United States. Its breeding grounds are located in the edges of forests and along streams.
In areas where Yellow-throated Vireos can breed, this species prefers the interior of forests over streams. During the breeding season, it breeds in the deep south of the eastern United States, southern Florida, and central South America.
The Yellow-throated Vireo’s breeding habitat consists of blocks of forest larger than 250 acres. This species’ numbers have decreased sharply in the northeastern United States, where toxic pesticides are commonly used to destroy trees.
The call of vireos is a collective chirp produced by this group of birds, and it can be heard in both boreal forests and parklands.
The American Goldfinch is a colorful and gregarious bird native to North America. It is a common bird, especially in urban areas, and is attracted to bird feeders.
In the non-breeding season, goldfinches flock to brushy fields and roadsides. The birds give distinct flight calls, and are polytypic, with four named ssp. ), with slight differences.
The American Goldfinch breeds in southern Canada and throughout the eastern half of the U.S., except for the Gulf states. During the winter months, it migrates a short distance toward the south.
It eats a wide variety of seeds and other plant materials, including tree buds and maple sap. It nests in alder and birch trees. These birds often sing in the summertime, when the birds are not actively feeding.
The American Goldfinch is found year-round in most of North America. During the summer, it breeds in southern Canada, where it spends its entire life. During the winter, it migrates to southern U.S. and eastern Mexico, where it spends the winter months.
During migration, the birds molt into duller plumage, making them less visible. It also flies north in the fall, from the southern tip of Florida to the northern regions of British Columbia and Alberta.
The American Goldfinch is a common bird in the United States, where it is the last songbird to breed in the summer.
Its open cup nest is supported by spider silk, and the inside is lined with the fluffy material of seed heads, thistle, and milkweed.
The female of the species lays between four and six pale blue eggs. When breeding, American Goldfinches often mate with multiple males.