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Council News Release

3/17/2003  3:09:00 PM

Seattle Names Great Blue Heron "Official Bird"

Resolution follows popular contest to name City Bird

SEATTLEThe City Council today unanimously passed, and Mayor Greg Nickels signed, a resolution designating the Great Blue Heron as the "Official Bird of Seattle," culminating a yearlong campaign and public contest sponsored by the Seattle Audubon Society.

"The citizens have spoken and have selected the Great Blue Heron as the bird that best encompasses the essence of our Emerald City. I couldnt agree more," said Nickels as he signed the official designation.

Votes for the Great Blue Heron outnumbered the second place finisher, the ubiquitous American Crow, two-to-one. The Northern Flicker, Seattles most plentiful woodpecker, finished the contest in third place. Honorable mentions include the "Seattle Wren," a sub species of the Bewicks wren; the Osprey, a bird of prey also known as a seahawk; and the Wilsons Warbler, a migratory songbird that benefits from shade-grown coffee.

"The Great Blue Heron is majestic and beautiful, like our city," said Council President Peter Steinbrueck, who introduced the resolution. "This official bird designation will enhance awareness of the need to protect heron habitat, and many natural areas, in order to continue to enjoy these and other wonderful birds. They will only survive here if we protect the natural places that make the Seattle area a great place to live."

While the official bird designation does not confer additional regulatory protection, supporters of the official bird designation hope it will raise public consciousness of urban nature and foster stewardship for the Great Blue Heron and its habitat.

"Seattle citizens made a great choice by voting for the Great Blue Heron as our official bird," said Lauren Braden, Advocate for Wildlife at Seattle Audubon. "Seattle provides important habitat for this species--forests for nesting and water for foraging. Seattleites see herons flying overhead in many Seattle neighborhoods, and especially near Discovery Park, where our largest nesting colony resides at Kiwanis Ravine."

Seattle Audubon launched the "Official Bird of Seattle" campaign in October 2002 with ballots handed out at nature centers, City parks and in school classrooms. For more information about the campaign and the species of birds nominated, please visit

Founded in 1916, Seattle Audubon Society is Seattles oldest conservation organization. Seattle Audubons mission is to protect birds and the natural environment by involving volunteers and the community in education, advocacy, preservation, science and enjoyment. With a membership of 5,500 and more than 700 volunteers, Seattle Audubon is one of the largest chapters of the National Audubon Society. Seattle Audubon is an independent nonprofit organization.


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