Working Towards a Safer Squamish for Birds

Updated July 2022

This June, SES launched a new initiative focused on keeping birds safe, and, since all things in nature are connected, keeping all our other wild beings safe too! Our new project is called Bird Friendly Squamish.

Birds, like most wildlife, are battling many threats to their survival each and every day. Because of threats including cities full of glass, habitat loss, invasive species, outdoor cats, off-leash dogs, disease and poisons, bird populations and biodiversity are in a frightening decline. As stewards of this incredible land where we are fortunate to live, it’s our responsibility to ensure our actions don’t negatively affect other species. We’re also responsible for caring for wildlife and their habitat.

While the threats are numerous and it’s important to be aware of them, we also want to highlight the many benefits that birds and nature provide. Studies show that bird biodiversity in a community has a significant effect on the happiness and mental health of the people there. During the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a significant increase in people spending more time in nature and taking up birding. In addition to helping us be happier, birds also provide pest control, pollinate, spread seeds, and support our economy.

One of our goals with this initiative is to become a certifed Bird Friendly City. This certification requires that a bird action committee work with its municipality to reduce threats to birds; promote habitat protection, restoration, and climate resiliency; and provide community outreach and education. Therefore, we’re beginning by forming a committee of passionate nature lovers who are making time to use their skills and interests to speak for the birds that can’t speak for themselves.

This year we received a Community Enhancement Grant to help us get our program underway. We’re grateful for this support from the District of Squamish and the Squamish Community Foundation. Also, Squamish Environment Society now has the support of Got Cans as one of their partner charities, and all proceeds are being donated to our project . We are proud to have this support from the community and from the businesses partnering with Got Cans.

We’re up for the challenge in support of our birds, natural spaces, and other wild beings! If you’re interested in learning more, partnering with us on a project, or joining our committee, please reach out to our volunteer coordinator.

Photo above: We sometimes think of small birds as being most vulnerable to the hazards caused by man-made structures, but larger birds like these Evening Grosbeaks also need our help. Birds attracted to backyard feeders are often startled when a predator flies past and window strikes can result.