The Royal Canadian Mint has issued the second coin of its four-coin “Migratory Birds Convention” series, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of a 1916 treaty signed by the U.S. and Britain on Canada’s behalf.
The Migratory Birds Convention served as a turning point in wildlife conservation, making it illegal to chase, hunt, capture, kill or sell any birds listed as “migratory birds.” Today, the treaty also offers protection to the more than 800 listed birds’ feathers, eggs and nests. The convention is enforced in Canada by the Migratory Birds Convention Act and in the U.S. by the Migratory Birds Treaty Act, both of which protect species, nests and eggs from unregulated hunting or commercial activities.
The Mint series celebrates four local migratory species that benefited from the original 1916 treaty. This most recent release depicts the American avocet, which can be observed wading through shallow wetlands and lakes in Canada’s prairie provinces, where it comes to breed and raise its offspring throughout summer.
The coin’s reverse design, by artist Claudio D’Angelo, features an engraved portrait of an American avocet on its approach to a shallow wetland. With foothills and a row of cottonwoods in the background, the bird prepares to land, and one of its legs skims the surface of the water to slow its descent, creating a soft wake in this otherwise tranquil setting.
The coin’s obverse depicts the 2003 effigy of Queen Elizabeth II designed by Susanna Blunt. Each of the series’ four Proof silver coins has a mintage of 6,500, a weight of 31.39 grams, a 38-mm diameter and a face value of $20.
The first coin in this series featured the Mountain Bluebird; a third coin depicting an American Goldfinch is slated for release in August, and a Pileated Woodpecker coin is scheduled to be issued in November 2016.