For years, the partners of EO have been noticing the “urban birds” of downtown North Sydney. We’ve watched them gather in large and small flocks, or on their own in nooks and crannies and wide-open spaces in the downtown corridor. They really are beautiful, and in the busyness of everyday life, they provide a welcome reminder that we don’t occupy this landscape alone and that even our urban places are rich in biodiversity.
The idea of an Urban Bird Project was “hatched” when during a renovation last spring, we found a bird’s nest on the front of a downtown commercial building. A nest with eggs was behind the building façade. What would we do? Who knew when they would hatch? So, one day when momma bird flew for some food, we quickly built a bird house, put the nest inside and attached it back to the front of the building before she got home. It worked. A couple of weeks later, the baby birds were hatched and all was well. But what was also surprising in this process is how many other people had been noticing the downtown birds, too. The conversation had begun.
Fast forward to Fall 2020 and we talked one day to Bobby Lewis, local volunteer and birdhouse builder! Bobby told us of how he volunteered his time to build birdhouses and the participants of Haley Street, an organization providing social and employment opportunities for adults with disabilities, sold them in their social enterprise, Nora’s Two Thrift Store. We loved the idea and placed an order!
Escape Outdoors has committed to purchasing ten birdhouses but would like to get the community supporting the project, too. For every $20 donation, the proceeds will go toward the purchase cost and we’ll gift you a super neat bird glass. Dr. Dave McCorquodale of the CBC Bird Hour has offered to help us with the placement of the houses in the best spots downtown. He’s also informed us that it’s House Sparrows and European Starlings that are the main downtown cavity nesting birds. Both are non-native.
We think that knowledge of just these couple of species will lead people to become more aware of urban biodiversity in general, and encourage them to take pride in their town’s non-human life. And, who knows, with the right habitat, we could attract other new species.
Donations can be accepted both at Escape Outdoors or La Quaintrelle, in store and online. Your bird glass gift can be picked up in-store. Thank you for the support!
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