Clear Skies, Safe Flights: Let’s Give Birds a Collision-Free Tomorrow!

Annually, a staggering 25 million birds lose their lives in Canada due to unnecessary collisions with buildings, predominantly during daylight hours when birds mistakenly perceive glass as a continuation of their surroundings. This preventable tragedy can be mitigated by applying visual treatments to windows. While some municipalities already mandate these changes, a longer-term goal is a comprehensive amendment to the Ontario Building Code. 

The FLAP program, originating in Toronto in 1993, pioneered awareness about the hazards posed to birds by lights, especially during migration. An opportunity now exists to modernize the Ontario building code by urging our politicians to enact and enforce bird-friendly standards.  Help by signing the pledge to safeguard our feathered friends and create a safer environment for birds.

Explore ways to protect birds in your backyard: While some products on the market may fall short of expectations, you can make your windows safer by following simple guidelines:

  • Apply markings densely, with no gaps exceeding 5 cm by 5 cm (2 inches by 2 inches).
  • Apply markings to the outer surface of the glass.
  • Ensure markings have high contrast to stand out effectively.
  • Each marking should be at least 6 mm (1/4 inch) in diameter.
  • Cover the entire glass surface with markings.

Additionally, consider relocating bird feeders and baths as close to the window as possible, ideally within half a meter. This minimizes the risk of birds building up enough momentum to cause serious injury if they accidentally collide with the window after leaving the feeder. For more suggestions, explore the resources provided by FLAP.

Peter Smith, TFN Advocacy Team

Toronto Field Naturalists wishes to acknowledge this Land through which we walk. For thousands of years, the Land has been shared by the Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, and the Anishinaabe. Toronto is situated on the Land within the Toronto Purchase, Treaty 13, the traditional and treaty Lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. This territory is also part of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum, a covenant agreement between Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Wendat peoples and allied nations to peaceably share the land and all its resources. Today, the Land is home to peoples of numerous nations. We are all grateful to have the opportunity to continue to care for and share the beauty of this Land.