FLAP Forces Toronto Buildings to Retrofit
by Nate Swick
With help from the Toronto based Fatal Light Awareness Program, a non-profit seeking to raise awareness of the dangers of ambient skyscraper light to migratory birds, to Ontario based environmental groups have succeeded in forcing two of Toronto's most dangerous buildings to take action to mitigate the effects on those birds passing through the Great Lakes, one of the most heavily trafficked migratory bird corridors on earth.
(at left a mosaic of one year's worth of window-killed birds in Toronto, arranged by FLAP)
In 2008 and 2009, FLAP documented over 900 bird fatalities from two buildings in the Consilium Place office complex. Charges were brought against the developer for animal cruelty and failure to act sooner. Those charges were dropped, but in the interim the buildings were retrofitted in response to the charges and in the intervening period fatalities have decreased dramatically according to Bird Canada.
“There are simple and effective measures to prevent many of the estimated one million bird deaths that occur from collisions with buildings in Toronto alone,” said Caroline Schultz, executive director at Ontario Nature. “Preserving migratory birds will benefit all Ontarians — from the free pest control services they provide in our forests to the direct economic benefit of the birding industry, Canada’s second-biggest outdoor leisure activity.”
Toronto has long been a leader in urban bird initiatives, creating Bird-Friendly Development guidelines in 2007 and requiring all new buildings built since January of 2010 to include measures to reduce bird strikes.