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Why We Care

An estimated 1 to 10 birds die per building, per year. The City of Toronto has over 950,000 registered buildings that could potentially kill over 9 million birds each year. Across North America, the estimated number of migrating birds killed annually in collisions with buildings ranges from 100 million to 1 billion birds.

Windows are everywhere: in our homes, offices, stores, restaurants, vehicles, bus shelters...everywhere. Many ornithologists now claim that collisions with human-built structures are the leading cause of migratory bird mortality in North America.

North America sits beneath four of the world’s busiest migratory bird corridors: the Pacific, Central, Mississippi and Atlantic Flyways. The Mississippi and Atlantic Flyways send birds across and around the Great Lakes. This natural passage offers visual cues for birds to follow and provides major stopover areas where birds rest and feed throughout their journey.

Tragically, coastlines that were once unobstructed to migration are now obstructed by the tall, lighted office towers and reflective buildings of our urban areas—a deadly obstacle course for migrating birds.

Roll over the photo to see a magnification and species names. An * indicates 'Species at Risk'

Why birds Collide with Buildings

Many species of birds migrate at night. Guided in part by the constellations, they are attracted to the bright lights left on overnight in urban areas, causing them to collide with buildings. During the day, windows deceive migratory birds. They cannot see the pane of glass. Instead, the birds focus on the reflection of trees or sky, or see through the glass to a potted plant inside the building. The result is often a fatal collision.

How FLAP Helps Migrating birds

The Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) is a non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors, and sustained by the tremendous efforts of approximately 100 dedicated volunteers.

Emergency Bird Rescue

FLAP is the first organization in the world to address the issue of birds in collisions with buildings. Since 1993, our volunteers have picked up tens of thousands of injured or dead birds from 167 species in the Toronto region. Sadly, about 60% of the birds recovered by FLAP are found dead. Over 80% of the injured birds rescued by FLAP volunteers are rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

Leading-edge Bird Protection Programs and Policies

Emergency bird rescue response is only one aspect of our work. Over the years we have developed close, working partnerships across all sectors of corporate and residential society, and instituted leading-edge programs and policies that begin to address the issue at the source: the buildings themselves. Our research and initiative has resulted in the publication of collision prevention guidelines for use on both corporate and residential structures that help protect birds from the hazards of buildings. Our website and hotline have provided advice and answers to many horrified individuals who have witnessed a bird hit a window.

An Inspiration for Bird Advocates

At FLAP, we share our expertise - gained in our experiences with migrating birds in Toronto - through educational workshops, displays, and public awareness campaigns. We strive to inspire bird lovers to action within our community and also in other cities across North America and around the world. Concerned groups in New York City, Chicago, and Minneapolis-St. Paul have since created similar organizations. A network of protection for migratory birds is emerging from this collective effort.

The most recent addition to the bird collision prevention movement is Safe Wings Ottawa, a Canadian initiative of the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club inspired by the work of FLAP Canada. We are excited and grateful to have this ambitious young group focussed on bird/building collisions in Canada’s capital city. By sharing data and knowledge, and maintaining a strong working relationship with local organizations such as Safe Wings Ottawa, we will succeed in the ultimate goal of safeguarding migratory birds from building collisions.

An example of how deceiving glass reflection can be to birds.
(Photo: FLAP)

A Primary Resource for Research

FLAP’s dedication to bird conservation places bird collisions with buildings at the centre of the wildlife conservation map. Our extensive database of bird collision statistics is now a primary resource for ornithological research worldwide and our work is heavily cited both online and offline in works concerned with the issue of bird-building collisions.

Need More Information?

As our urban and rural environments continue to grow, safe passage for migratory birds becomes increasingly jeopardized. FLAP relies on your awareness, and your generous donations to continue with our efforts to protect migratory birds. Please give so that future generations have the opportunity to experience the sheer joy of the beauty and songs of migratory birds.

Take a few minutes to visit the rest of our website for more information or to discover the many ways that you can help.

You can contact us by email at flap@flap.org or by telephone at (416) 366 - 3527.

Our Team

FLAP Canada Board of Directors:

Sylvia Kadlick
President

Karen McKillop
Treasurer

Erik Kremer
Secretary

Mary Li
Director

Brett Tryon
Director

Our Staff:

Michael Mesure
Founder, Executive Director

Susan Krajnc
Program Manager

Paloma Plant
Program Coordinator

Our Backbone:

Our team of approximately 125 dedicated volunteers