Toronto Towers Not Exactly Birds' Best Friends

A lethal combination of a rapidly expanding modern skyline and the intersection of several major migratory flight paths have rendered Toronto one of the world’s most deadly cities for migratory birds, reports Ian Austen.
October 29, 2012, 6am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Modern architecture's infatuation with glass has been a lethal development for birds across the world. In North America alone an estimated 100 million to one billion birds are killed every year in collisions with buildings. In Toronto, a combination of factors make that city one of the world's deadliest. 

"So many birds hit the glass towers of Canada's most populous city that volunteers scour the ground of the financial district for them in the predawn darkness each morning," writes Austen. "The group behind the bird patrol, the Fatal Light Awareness Program, known as FLAP, estimates that one million to nine million birds die every year from impact with buildings in the Toronto area."

Thanks to the persistence of FLAP, the city has recognized the extent of the problem and is taking measures to help address it. FLAP is now using the courts to push developers and building owners to do their share. "After years of conducting rescue and recovery missions and prodding the city to include bird safety in its design code for new buildings, FLAP has recently begun using the courts to help keep birds alive. It is participating in two legal cases using laws normally meant to protect migratory birds from hunting and industrial hazards to prosecute the owners of two particularly problematic buildings." 

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Published on Saturday, October 27, 2012 in The New York Times
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