Provincial Bird: Northern or Common Raven (Corvus corax)
The Canadian Government website indicates that the Yukon adopted the Northern Raven in 1985 as its Territorial Bird. The website goes on to say:
“The Northern Raven is seen everywhere in Yukon. It is a very intelligent bird and an opportunistic feeder, feasting on everything from carrion to groceries left in the back of pick-up trucks.
The raven is the largest member of the crow family and has a body length of up to 70 centimetres.The raven is called “crow” by Yukon First Nations people and is the subject of many stories passed from generation to generation.”
There is specific legislation – the Raven Act – in which the Yukon Legislature adopted the Northern Raven as its bird: “Official bird 1 The bird popularly known as the northern raven and known biologically as the common raven (Corvus corax, sub-species principalis) is adopted as the official bird of the Yukon. S.Y. 2002, c.187, s.1.”
The Northwest Territories adopted the Gyrfalcon in 1990 as its Provincial bird. The Territorial Emblems and Honours Act consolidates this status:
“Bird emblem 7. The bird known ornithologically as Falco rusticolus and called “gyrfalcon” is the bird emblem of the Northwest Territories.“
The Northwest Legislative Assembly website goes on to explain the characteristics of the Gyrfalcon:
“The gyrfalcon is the largest and most magnificent of the falcons and breeds throughout the tundra, including all the Arctic islands. Gyrfalcons usually winter in the North and during that season can be found anywhere in the Northwest Territories. They range in color from white through shades of grey and brown to almost black. Darker birds are more common in the NWT. Gyrfalcons eat mostly ptarmigan, but also ground squirrels, seabirds, waterfowl, and arctic hares. They are expert hunters, and extremely fast and powerful fliers.“
eBird Canada suggests that the Gyr Falcon is a relatively uncommon bird, even in Canada:
“Breeds on cliffs on Arctic tundra; winters in large open areas. Never common even on breeding grounds; rare everywhere in the continental U.S.“
Canada Post has issued two stamps which feature the Gyrfalcon. The first of these was in 2003, a single design stamp that was printed as part of a self-adhesive booklet of six stamps.
The postage stamps of the Birds of Canada series were issued annually between 1996 and 2001. There are six series altogether with four stamp designs per set, giving a total of twenty four stamps across the whole series.
Designed by Raymond Bellemare and illustrated in Acrylic by Pierre Leduc, the stamps are attractive and highly collectable. They can be found in sheet or strip form as well as individually, are common and relatively inexpensive to purchase. The 1999 (4th) and 2001 (6th) series were also issued as self-adhesive booklets. They can be a little trickier to acquire, but I’ve seen them on ebay.
The website of the Executive Council of Newfoundland and Labrador indicates that the Atlantic Puffin became the Provincial bird in 1991. The website goes on to provide an overview of the characteristics of this bird:
“With a thick orange, yellow, and grey bill and stout body, the puffin is able to fly in the air as well as swim underwater, and its razor-sharp claws allow it to dig deep burrows into the rich soil of seabird islands. It lays a single egg at the bottom of this protective burrow. Both parents nurture until the chick is ready for life at sea in late August or early September. Ninety-five per cent of North America’s Atlantic Puffins are found in this province.” The Canada Government website indicates that the largest colony of the Puffins can be found on the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, south of St John’s. The reserve comprises four small islands, which provide a home to the Puffins, as well as other seabirds, during nesting season and beyond, for the birds to raise their young. The islands are off-limits to human visitors (tourists).
the Province of Albert adopted the Great-horned owl as its bird emblem in 1977, following a province-wide children’s vote. This owl is an Alberta resident; and apparently its choice reflected concern about threatened wildlife, both in Alberta and worldwide.
The Alberta Legislature has endorsed the selection of the Great-horned owl in Statute:
Emblems of Alberta Act (Revised Statutes 2000): “Official bird 6. The bird known scientifically as Bubo virginianus and commonly known as the “great horned owl” is hereby adopted as the official bird of Alberta. RSA 1980 cE-8 s6“.
The Great-horned owl is a native resident of North America, but can also be found in Central America and Southern parts of South America. Within North America, eBird Canada says of the Great-horned Owl:“Large and widespread owl with distinctive ear tufts. Found in a variety of habitats from dense woods to prairie and deserts with at least some trees. Also, found in wooded towns and suburbs. Typically, well-camouflaged dark brown overall, but varies in color. Often engages in haunting duets, with males and females hooting back and forth. Preys upon a variety of animals, including mammals, birds and reptiles“.