By Natalie Sopinka
The photo at the right captures only a fraction of the birds that died in one year in the Toronto area. The cause of the deaths? Collisions with buildings.
An incident in Ottawa last spring, in which a number of Bohemian waxwings died when they tried to fly through a glass passageway at City Hall prompted Anouk Hoedeman (of the OFNC’s Birds Committee) to do something. On December 3, she held a meeting to discuss forming a group dedicated to preventing, or at least reducing, such collisions. The initiative will be based on the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) in Toronto, which has offered its support along with Nature Canada and the local Wild Bird Care Centre.
There are two parts to the bird-building collision problem. During the day, reflective glass creates a misleading flight path that birds try to fly through. During the evening, birds are drawn to light emanating from higher windows; this can result in direct collisions or birds flying around the lighted area until they are exhausted. Solutions to these problems exist (e.g., non-reflective glass, turning off lights) and members of the new group are keen on publicizing them to prevent bird injuries.
The Ottawa group is still in the early stages of organization. The success of the FLAP Ottawa chapter will depend on dedicated volunteers collecting and recording information on injured/dead birds.
Want to get involved? Please contact Anouk via firstname.lastname@example.org. The chapter’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday January 13, 2014, 7 p.m., at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretive Centre.
For more information on the history, mission, and accomplishments of FLAP Canada, visit www.flap.org.