Meet the Birds of Global Bird Rescue: 2020 Edition

By Kaitlin Brough, FLAP Canada’s Global Bird Rescue Coordinator for 2019 & 2020

As we enter into colder weather in North America, most of the migratory birds have already made their passage south. Sadly, many of these birds never arrive at their wintering grounds because they are killed or injured from collisions with glass during their migration.

Every fall, to spread awareness of the issue, encourage people around the world to search for and rescue birds that have collided with glass and make their windows bird-safe, FLAP Canada, in partnership with Nature Canada, hosts Global Bird Rescue.

Despite the global challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 45 Global Bird Rescue Teams and members of the public around the world searched for fallen birds between October 5 – 11 while safely following public health guidance. These Global Bird Rescue participants came from 11 different countries including Canada, the United States, Poland, Uzbekistan, Nepal, England, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Russia, Panama and New Zealand. Many Global Bird Rescue Teams joined us for the first time this year! During the event, participants reported 1,915 birds of 103 different species on the Global Bird Collision Mapper (GBCM), 490 of which were found alive. These 490 birds were given a second chance because of your dedicated efforts. Here are three of their stories.

Collared Scops Owl, Nepal

Collared Scops Owl. Photo: Mira Dhakal

On the first day of Global Bird Rescue, this Collared Scops Owl unfortunately found itself with an injured left wing after colliding with a window in Pokhara Valley, Nepal. Ms. Dhakal, a volunteer with GBCM Pokhara Valley, was lucky to spot the injured owl. With the help of the Divisional Forest Office, this owl was brought to the Pachavaiya Zoological Park for treatment.

Golden-crowned Kinglet, Toronto

Golden-crowned Kinglet. Photo: Nicole Abernathy

On the other side of the world in North America, a total of 177 dead or injured birds were recorded on the second day of Global Bird Rescue. In downtown Toronto, a hotspot for window collisions, a FLAP volunteer found this tiny male Golden-crowned Kinglet. The little bird was assessed for signs of injuries, and thankfully was found to be fit for release in a safe natural area, away from any windows.  When the rescuer opened the brown paper bag to release the kinglet, the kinglet hopped out, landed on the rescuer’s finger, let out a little yawn, then flew off to continue his migration south.

Hermit Thrush, Connecticut

Hermit Thrush. Photo: Connecticut Bird Collision Survey

During an early morning survey in New Haven, Connecticut, the Connecticut Bird Collision Survey spotted this Hermit Thrush on the ground below an expanse of glass. The team knew that many birds that collide with windows sustain internal injuries that are often difficult to spot. Thankfully, they were able to capture the bird and deliver it to a wildlife rehabilitation centre so that it could receive the medical attention it needed.

These are just a few of the birds that were rescued during Global Bird Rescue. But we can help prevent birds from colliding with glass in the first place by ensuring our windows are bird-safe.

If you have recently treated your windows, or participated in Global Bird Rescue, we would love to hear about it! Share your story with FLAP Canada on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #GlobalBirdRescue.