The City of Vancouver is gearing up for a referendum of sorts. But it's not about bike lanes, rezonings, or property taxes.
Between April 13 and May 10, Vancouver residents will be asked to pick a city bird.
The candidates are six birds that call the city home all year long: Anna’s hummingbird, black-capped chickadee, Pacific wren, pileated woodpecker, northern flicker, and varied thrush.
Online voting will take place on the city website. There will also be ballot boxes at Hillcrest Centre, Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, the Vancouver Public Library's main branch, the park board's administration building on Beach Avenue, and the Stanley Park Ecology Society's Nature House at Lost Lagoon.
The winner will be announced at the end of Vancouver Bird Week (May 3 to 10), and displayed in promotional material for Bird Week 2015.
In a social media marketing exercise, the park board has set up Twitter accounts for each nominated bird: @annathebird, @vancityblackcap, @variedthrush, @pacificwren, @vanwoodpecker, and @northernflick.
Here's what the park board says about each bird.
"Anna's Hummingbird are tiny, but highly showy, Vancouver birds. They're bright and colourful, fearless around humans, and the males will swoop up 130 feet in the air and then dive to the ground to woo the ladies."
"The cute Black-Capped Chickadee is a can-do bird who loves to explore and is always the first to find a feeder in the area. It's a social, popular bird who lives in the forest, hides food to eat later, and has a well-known whistled song."
"In 2010, Pacific Wrens were split off as their own species from the Winter Wren family. The brown Pacific Wren is a shy and solitary bird, hiding in its forest habitat and avoiding people. However, despite its tiny size, its voice is enormously powerful."
"The stately Pileated Woodpecker is the largest of the City Bird candidates, and lives exclusively in mature forests. The holes it pecks provide homes and nests for many other bird species."
"The Northern Flicker is at home in both forest and urban environments, eating and living easily in both, and is unafraid to squawk at its human neighbours. A cousin of the Pileated Woodpecker, the Flicker also pecks holes that other species use to survive."
"Though brightly coloured, the Varied Thrush is a shy bird whose song is often described as a 'sad referee's whistle'. It spends the winter at sea level, then heads up mountains to breed in spring."