For thousands of people climbing Canada’s tallest building for WWF-Canada’s CN Tower Climb for Nature, the height they reach is staggering. But that’s nothing compared to some of the highest-flying birds in Canada.
Here are five Canadian birds that reach truly dizzying heights – and whose habitats, along with other wildlife, will be supported by the climbers ascending a mere 553 metres (that’s 1,776 steps!) above street level.
Did you know: These swans are large and heavy, weighing up to almost 11 kgs. They have long necks, entirely white plumage and a black beak with a yellow spot at the base. Nesting on Arctic tundra, they can often be found near water, although during migration and winter they sometimes travel to agricultural fields to find food.
Did you know: These majestic birds of prey have excellent eyesight that allows them to soar at extremely high heights and spot fish up to 1.6 kilometres away. Their wing spans range from 1.8 to 2.4 metres, and when they spot a food source, they can drop from the sky at up to 161 kilometres an hour. That’s some serious aerodynamics!
Did you know: Sandhill cranes have a noticeable red crown that stands out against their otherwise gray and tan feathers. These large, tall birds are about the same size as great blue herons, and breed and forage in prairies, grasslands and wetlands. They tend to migrate at very high heights.
Did you know: Turkey vultures are scavenger birds with an extraordinary sense of smell and can detect food from up to 1.6 kilometres away. They have been known to live up to 24 years and despite having, on average, a six-foot wingspan, they only weigh between two to four lbs.
Did you know: These common ducks can live in almost any wetland habitat in almost any freshwater body across Asia, Europe and North America. The males, also known as drakes, are more distinctively coloured than females. Believe it or not, the highest recorded flying mallard was flying at about 6,400 metres above Nevada – in the same range as a passenger airliner!