It’s official. The people have voted and The City of Calgary has declared its official bird. The winner is that little favourite, the black-capped chickadee. The decision will be confirmed at the June 7 council meeting.
I was a supporter of the black-billed magpie myself. I see these cheeky rascals frequently, hanging around my apartment building, often sitting on my balcony railings and scolding me for some sin I’m unaware of. However the magpie, with 24 percent of the vote, came in second to the winning chickadee who scored a landslide 44 percent.
Actually, the bird I see most of is the pigeon, but they weren’t included in the race. Perhaps because they are more feral than wild, or because they’re an invasive species, or because they’re particularly indiscrete with their bodily functions. In any case, they are often unwelcome, referred to as rats with wings, or as filthy vermin, and so on. Actually I rather like them except when they persistently attempt to nest on my balcony which they do regularly every spring.
I see the new official bird from time to time, usually in the winter all fluffed up in the cold peeking out of the big spruce tree in our backyard. The happy chick-a-dee-dee-dee tune always brightens a winter day.
The contest for official bird included five candidates: blue jay, black-capped chickadee, northern flicker, red-breasted Nuthatch and black-billed magpie. They were selected by the Treaty 7 first nations, Metis Region 3, and various birding groups. About 36,000 Calgarians voted.
Calgary is one of the first cities in the country to be certified by Nature Canada as bird friendly. With its abundance of natural areas, the city entertains over 200 species.
City Councillor Kourtney Penner said a lot of people commented that the magpie is the bird that we truly deserve, and the chickadee is the bird we aspire to. I’m not sure what that implies but, while the magpie was my choice, I recognize the little black-capped sweetheart as a worthy winner.