City of Vancouver's official City Bird, the Anna's Hummingbird.

Official City Bird: Anna's Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird proves to resonate most with voters. After three weeks of campaigning, the elected official city bird received 3,450 of the 8,259 votes cast.

As the official City Bird, Anna's Hummingbird will:

  • Symbolize the importance of birds in our ecoystem
  • Continue to build awareness of birds in the city
  • Encourage implementation of the Vancouver Bird Strategy

Election results

City of Vancouver residents voted online and in-person for the official City Bird between April 28 and May 14, 2017. 

Nominee Votes Percentage of votes
Anna's Hummingbird 3,450 42%
Northern Flicker 2,653 32%
Varied Thrush 1,265 15%
Spotted Towhee 891 11%

Anna's Hummingbird in its nestMeet Anna's Hummingbird

“Classy, urbane, and stylish with the heart of a tiger” describes this recent arrival to the Vancouver scene.

With their iridescent emerald feathers and sparkling rose-pink throats, Anna’s Hummingbird are more like flying jewelry than birds, but they are also fierce defenders and enforce their turf with tenacity.  

In their thrilling and athletic courtship displays, males climb up to 40 m into the air and then swoop to the ground at break-neck speed with a curious burst of noise that they produce through their tail feathers.  

Their housing needs are modest and Anna’s Hummingbirds could easily live in the potted plant in any Vancouver neighbourhood.  

Learn more about the official City Bird

Birds are an excellent indicator of a healthy ecosystem; they thrive in healthy natural environments and contribute to the ecosystem itself as pollinators, seed distributors and insect eaters. 

Vancouver has an extensive variety of local birds and is also located on one of the world’s major migratory pathways.

As citizens, we enjoy the link birds provide with our local biodiversity and tourists support our economy as they flock to the city to catch a glimpse of the many species found here.

About the Vancouver Bird Strategy

City Council adopted the Vancouver Bird Strategy in 2015 to create conditions for native birds to thrive in Vancouver. With this strategy, by 2020 Vancouver will be a world leader in supporting a rich and diverse group of native birds year-round.

The strategy also:

  • Supports migratory birds as they pass through Vancouver
  • Broadens awareness of our rich avian communities
  • Has important economic, social, and environmental benefits 
  • Gets us closer to our Greenest City goal to provide residents with greater access to nature 

Vancouver’s Official Bird will be the spokesbird for the strategy.

Upcoming events

It is especially timely for us to elect an official City Bird who can assume official ceremonial duties when Vancouver hosts the prestigious 27th International Ornithological Congress in August 2018 and the first ever Vancouver International Bird Festival.

  • Engage and teach us how we can all make our city a sustainable habitat for birds
  • Support Vancouver’s creative economy by inspiring artists, designers, and craftspeople
  • Be an ambassador by attracting large bird conferences and events to Vancouver
  • Act as ambassador spokesperson to the emerging birding market
  • Increase awareness and build content around birding in Vancouver

The 2017 nominees for an official permanent City Bird were generated by a public process called Words for Birds. Over 1,300 Vancouverites contributed words that reflect qualities of the people who call our city home. Vancouver bird experts then matched the qualities to four local birds.

Some birds were not considered because they:

  • Already were a Vancouver City Bird
  • May be viewed negatively by various cultural groups
  • May already be a municipal, provincial/state, or country bird elsewhere
  • Are commonly found in other areas outside of the pacific northwest

2017 Nominees

Northern FlickerClose-up of a Northern Flicker

With stylish polka-dots on the body, and flashy orange beneath tail and wing, the Northern Flicker is our equivalent of an avian comic in appearance.

They are large, handsome woodpeckers that announce their presence with a call that resembles their name. They are easily recognized along urban streets and in city parks where they search out ants and beetles, digging for them with their unusual, slightly curved bills. 

Being primary excavators, they create holes that are subsequently used by other birds and mammals for nesting and roosting. Flickers provide this service free of charge, akin to being lifetime volunteers for Habitat for Humanity.  

Northern Flickers are more amenable to condo-living, tolerating multiple cavities in a single tree or building, and you often hear them at work in neighbourhoods across the city, drumming at up to 22 beats per second. A key plank in the Northern Flicker’s campaign was to limit the use of pesticides in our gardening practices. 

Spotted Towhee

a Spotted Towhee in a treeUnassuming sophistication is the hallmark of the Spotted Towhee. With its shy retiring nature and a stylish black coat, the half-opened red vest, and white undercoat, the Spotted Towhee adds a splash of reserved chicness to any garden in Vancouver.

This is a peaceful but sociable bird that happily putters about in the shrubs hunting for seeds and berries and would be content living in a laneway home.  

If elected, Spotted Towhee would have focused attention on the need to provide diverse natural habitats in every neighbourhood to accommodate not just Towhees but all birds that call Vancouver home.

Varied Thrush

A Varied Thrush eating a grapeMellow and contemplative, the Varied Thrush is the muse of west coast rainforest that would definitely make him a top contender for “Vancouver’s Got Talent”, sometimes singing two notes in harmony, at the same time.  

But they are more than just beautiful singers. The haunting single-note song and retiring secretive nature is counterpoint to the Varied Thrush’s body suit that would be the envy of any Vancouver fitness freak. This shy bird has dramatic appearance with a slate gray back and breast band set against burnt-orange breast and belly.

Common around Vancouver, Varied Thrushes would prefer single-family living with large lot sizes where they could happily forage for insects in summer and switch to berries and seeds in winter.

Varied Thrush’s top priority in the election was to promote the Urban Forest Strategy; increasing the tree canopy increases habitat for birds living in Vancouver but also those who are tourists, passing through on their annual migrations.

Northwestern Crow

Vancouver’s innovative, playful, outgoing, and social traits are all wrapped up in the Northwestern Crow. This bird was acclaimed as Vancouver’s first annual City Bird for 2014.

Cosmopolitan in cuisine and at home in all neighbourhoods, the crow has taken to joining the morning and evening commute to and from the suburbs.

Having already reigned for a year, and shocked by the recent senseless attack on Canuck the Crow, the Northwestern Crow has decided it has had enough of political life. It will focus its attention on domestic matters and support of its fellows.

 

Black-Capped Chickadee

The Black-Capped Chickadee was the first elected annual City Bird, winning a tight race to reign in 2015.

This can-do bird loves to explore and is always the first to find a feeder in the area. It’s a social, popular bird who:

  • Lives in the forest and in our neighbourhoods
  • Hides food to eat later
  • Has a well-known whistled song

Its range is much broader than just Vancouver, enjoyed from coast to coast. The Chickadee has opted to leave civic politics and has set his sights for federal recognition.

 

Peregrine Falcon

The Peregrine Falcon was elected the annual City Bird for 2016 on the basis of its prowess as the avian equivalent of the stealth bomber.

It appears out of nowhere in a blinding flash to snatch unsuspecting birds from the ground or in short aerial pursuits.  

Unhappy with some negative press during his reign, the Peregrine Falcon has decided the challenging aspects of being a public figure outweigh the opportunities to be of greater value to society. He will focus on his role in pigeon control, especially downtown. 

City Bird photography

Our City Bird photos were taken exclusively by 16-year-old Liron Gertsman.

A multiple award-winning bird watcher and photographer, his body of work is a testament to his special talents and passion.

With a love for outdoors, Liron is determined to protect our precious environment.  

See more of Liron's work

Learn more about birds in Vancouver

Vancouver International Bird Festival

From bird nerd to bird curious, from wise old owl to adventurous tot, there is an event for everyone during the Vancouver International Bird Festival.

Vancouver Bird Strategy

The Vancouver Bird Strategy works to create conditions for native birds to thrive in Vancouver.

Birds in our city

Birds are an excellent indicator of a healthy ecosystem—a link between people and local biodiversity.