• Our Impact

    Photo: Rob Mueller

    Black-throated Green Warbler

Small but Mighty

Since 1993, FLAP Canada has worked tirelessly to protect birds from harm in the built environment. Our work started as a grassroots effort to protect birds from the danger of light pollution by rescuing songbirds that had collided with buildings at night in Toronto. This tradition continues today but has grown to include daytime bird rescue patrols. Since FLAP’s inception, we have recovered nearly 100,000 injured and dead birds from 173 species, including Species at Risk.

Lights Out!

In 1995, FLAP Canada partnered with World Wildlife Fund Canada to launch the first ever Lights Out initiative: the Bird-Friendly Building Program. Building managers turned off their lights at night to help migrating birds. This innovative campaign sparked dozens of similar initiatives across North America.

Combating Climate Change through Lights Out!

The energy supply sector is a major contributor to climate change, accounting for 35% of emissions worldwide. One of FLAP Canada’s primary advocacy efforts strives for the protection of migratory birds through the reduction of lighting. You, too, can help combat climate change, and protect migratory birds, by adopting the following responsible lighting control practices:

  • Use light only if needed
  • Direct light so it falls only where needed.
  • Light should be no brighter than necessary.
  • Control light through Building Automated Systems (BAS).
  • Use warm colour lighting in the red spectrum.

For more information, visit DarkSky International

  • Turn off all lights in unused interior spaces.
  • Mandate the use of task lighting at workstations to replace overhead lighting.
  • Turn off all non-security overhead lighting in occupied spaces.
  • Human safety and building security lighting should be isolated to areas as the code requires.
  • Switch to cleaning of interior spaces during daylight hours.
  • Dim lights from 10pm to 6am in public areas, i.e., lobbies, atria, retail, etc.
  • Install motion sensors and/or auto shutoff systems with a maximum 30-minute vacant period.
  • Install non-reflective climate control window films that incorporate bird collision deterrent markers.
  • Drawing blinds and drapes whenever possible.
  • Ensure that 60% or more of the building exterior surface is built from non-reflective opaque materials.
  • Incorporate bird collision deterrent markers on all reflective and transparent surfaces.
  • Incorporate exterior daylight control systems to help regulate interior temperatures. Strategies include exterior shutters, grilles, louvres, living walls and sunshades.
  • Drawing blinds and drapes whenever possible.

Reducing our Carbon Footprint during Bird Rescue Efforts

Each year, hundreds of birds recovered by FLAP Canada volunteers and members of the public need transport to wildlife rehabilitation facilities. FLAP constantly seeks to partner with organizations, companies, and government agencies, with vehicles already on the road, who can help transport injured birds to facilities where they can receive the care they require.

Bird-Safe Standards

As we continued to collect data on the issue, our advocacy work grew to highlight an even greater risk to birds: daytime collisions with glass. These efforts eventually led the City of Toronto to adopt Bird-Friendly Development Guidelines in 2007, a world first. Since then, a multitude of other cities across North America and abroad have followed suit by adopting bird-safe guidelines. FLAP continues to provide guidance and support for cities that wish to adopt bird-safe standards — we regularly provide our expertise on technical committees.

Toronto Bird-Friendly Best Practices Glass

At the Forefront of Change

Through the years, FLAP Canada has been at the forefront of innovation and change. We have been heavily involved in precedent-setting legal cases that led to the important ruling that killing birds with windows is an environmental offence. We develop and promote new technology to assess buildings for the risk they pose to birds. We routinely collaborate in scientific studies and with commercial manufacturers in the development of bird-safe products. In fact, our collaboration with the Convenience Group led to the development of the first commercial-grade bird-deterrent window markers for building retrofits: Feather Friendly. We are proud of the many fruitful partnerships we have built and continue to build to help fulfill our mission, such as the development of a national bird-safe building standard.

Spreading the Word

Our education and outreach programs have reached millions of people. We regularly present to schools, nature groups, government staff, architects, industry professionals, and more. We run educational campaigns for homeowners to teach them about the danger their windows pose to birds. Our creative methods, including our annual bird layout, have garnered extensive media attention, and inspired other bird conservation groups to hold similar layouts. Our work has been featured in local, national, and international media, including Time, Popular Science, and National Geographic magazines, and in the well-known documentary film, The Messenger.

An Urgent Global Movement to Protect Birds

Today, FLAP Canada continues to be a revolutionary leader in protecting birds in the built environment. And our reach continues to grow at a global level with campaigns like Global Bird Rescue. When you support FLAP, you are supporting an organization with a proven track record of achievement. When you support FLAP, you are helping to keep birds safe from one of the leading causes of bird death world-wide.