How one tiny bird changed my life in a big way

Thirty years ago, I was on a mission in downtown Toronto to understand the bird- building collision phenomenon.  I came across a common yellowthroat stunned but still alive at the base of a building, and in need of rescuing.  Ever so gently, I placed it in a brown paper bag, and drove with it to the rehabilitation center. While enroute, it escaped from the bag, inside my car. Perching on the rear-view mirror, it seemed to look at me. Then it began to sing. I kept driving, enchanted by its glorious song.

Common Yellowthroat
Photo by: Wolfgang Wander
[CC BY-SA 3.0]

Suddenly, the bird stopped singing and collapsed into my lap, dead. I was broken inside.

Not a day goes by that I don’t reflect on this profound experience. I still can’t tell the story without tearing up.

It was in this ‘bird zero’ moment I felt compelled to act and do something about it.

And so the bird-building collision movement began, with me and a few like-mind people founding FLAP.

Since 1993, I’ve been proud to see the organization’s achievements and the significant impact FLAP Canada has had in bringing this issue to light (and lights out), in Toronto, Canada, and around the world.

In bringing our website redesign to life, I reflected on all the many milestones, staff, volunteers, partners and donors who helped us do this.

And so, in closing out 2019, I dedicate the new and improved to them, and the tiny bird who inspired a movement and vision for a bird collision-free urban environment.