Canada is a vast and varied land, home to a rich tapestry of bird species that captivate birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. From the coastal regions of British Columbia to the dense forests of the Maritimes, Canada boasts a stunning array of avian wonders. In this blog post, we’ll take a journey across the country, exploring some of the fascinating birds that call Canada home. Read along to learn about their Birds of Canada banknote series which is dedicated to Canadian wildlife.

Birds In Sky | Source: AS

Merle D’Amerique / American Robin 

With its reddish-orange breast and cheerful song, the American Robin is a familiar sight in Canadian gardens and parks. Despite its name, this bird is a year-round resident in many parts of Canada, symbolizing the arrival of spring. 

American Robin | Source: Wikipedia

Two American robins on a grassy field are shown on the reverse of the 1986 version of the Canada 2 dollar banknote. On its obverse is Queen Elizabeth II in a dress,wearing a pearl necklace. The note’s front design also depicts the Canadian arms and Parliament buildings in Ottawa. 

Canada 2 Dollars | 1986 | Birds of Canada Series | Source: Banknote World

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) 

The Belted Kingfisher is often found near water bodies. With its striking blue and white plumage and distinctive rattling call, this bird is a true gem of Canada’s avian diversity. 

Belted Kingfisher | Source: Wikipedia

The Belted Kingfisher is featured on the reverse of the 5 dollar note from 1986. The dazzling bird is perched on a tree branch, overlooking a march. The front of the note portrays Wilfred Laurier who served as the 7th prime minister of Canada. It also shows the Parliament buildings in Ottawa and the Canadian arms. 

Canada 5 Dollars | 1986 | Birds of Canada Series | TAP Authenticated | Source: Banknote World

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)  

The Osprey is renowned for its fishing prowess. These birds are often seen hovering over bodies of water before executing a dramatic dive to catch their prey with powerful talons. 

Osprey | Source: Wikipedia

Featured on the reverse of the Canadian 10 dollar banknote from 1989 is this raptor bird in flight, catching fish. On the obverse the Canadian coat of arms and a portrait of 1st prime minister John Alexander Macdonald wearing a suit. 

Canada 10 Dollars | 1989 | Birds of Canada Series | Source: Banknote World

Common Loon (Gavia immer)  

A haunting call echoes across northern lakes—belonging to the Common Loon. Its striking black-and-white plumage and eerie calls make it an iconic symbol of Canada’s freshwater ecosystems. 

Common Loon | Source: Wikipedia

On the back of the 20 dollar bill are two Common Loon birds swimming in a lake. Gracing on its obverse are Queen Elizabeth II in a dress and a pearl necklace, the coat of arms of Canada and the Parliament library. 

Canada 20 Dollar | 1991 | Birds of Canada Series | Source: Banknote World

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) 

On the reverse of the Canadian 50 dollar banknote from 1988 is the Snowy Owl perched on a rock. The majestic bird is adapted to the Arctic tundra. Its pure white plumage provides camouflage in the snow, and these owls are occasional visitors to southern Canada during winter.  

Snowy Owl | Source: Wikipedia

The banknote’s obverse featured Parliament buildings, the national emblem, and 10th prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in a suit.  

Canada 50 Dollars | 1988 |Source: Banknote World Educational

More About The Birds Of Canada 1986 Series 

The Birds of Canada 1986 Series was crafted with advanced security features aimed at countering the capabilities of color photocopiers prevalent during that era. Notably, the introduction of an optical security device, characterized by a metallic patch that dynamically shifts from gold to green, was a key element. Additionally, the series incorporated larger portraits, facilitating a more detailed view of the fine-line work in the facial and hair features. To verify the authenticity of the note (except for the $2, $5 and $10 notes), one can tilt it to observe the patch changing colors and touch it to discern that there are no detectable raised edges, and it cannot be peeled off. 

Canada Dollar Showing Security Features | Source: Bank of Canada

Another security feature involves the use of raised ink, noticeable on the large number, the shoulders of the portrait, and the two horizontal bars running the length of the note. By running one’s fingers over these areas, the raised texture becomes evident. Furthermore, small green dots scattered randomly on both sides of the note serve as an additional security measure. If these dots are on the surface, they can be scratched off. 

Canada 1,000 Dollars | 1988 | Source: Banknote World Educational

It is noteworthy that the Birds of Canada 1986 Series was the final series to include the $2 and $1,000 notes. In 1996, the issuance of the $2 note ceased, being replaced by a more durable coin. Subsequently, in 2000, the $1,000 note was withdrawn from circulation. The dimensions of the notes in this series are 152 x 70 mm. 

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