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What happens to all the dead birds salvaged by FLAP?

Sadly, FLAP volunteers find thousands of birds during each migration season that have died in collisions with windows and buildings in our urban environment. In an effort to improve the survival chances of the bird species FLAP volunteers encounter, we developed a partnership with the Royal Ontario Museum`s (ROM) Ornithology Department.

FLAP carefully documents the species of each dead bird, the location of the collision, and the hazards at the location that contributed to the bird’s death. The dead birds are tagged and stored in a common freezer until the end of each migration season.

When migration season ends, FLAP sorts the stored collection of dead birds according to their species, and photographs the arrangement for a visual record of bird mortality rates. These images are used for education and research purposes, and public awareness campaigns.

Once the birds are properly catalogued, FLAP holds workshops for their volunteers to help them develop bird identification skills. This is an important contribution toward helping FLAP maintain their accurate database: a database that is now used worldwide by ornithological and environmental research institutions.

After the volunteer workshops, FLAP donates the birds to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) where they are used for research purposes and educational displays. The ROM also distributes the birds to universities, and wildlife and naturalist organizations for similar purposes.

Listed below are a few examples of the research and education programs that utilize dead birds:

At the ROM

  • Study skins: for permanent collection and teaching collection
  • Skeletons for study
  • Tissue and feather samples
  • Skinning displays
  • Gallery displays
  • Gallery mounts

Outside of the ROM

  • University of Guelph: genetic bar coding
  • University of Guelph: West Nile Virus
  • Canadian Wildlife Service: skins used for workshops
  • Ontario Naturalists: classroom workshops
  • University of Toronto: teaching skinning to students
  • Trent University and Queen's University: tissue samples for molecular research
  • High Park: specimens for identification workshops

Ultimately, FLAP would prefer not to be able to supply such a rich resource for educational and research purposes. We remain staunchly committed to our mission to successfully stop these tragic deaths from occurring.

For more information, please email flap@flap.org or call us at (416) 366-3527.