By day and by night, Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) Canada volunteers diligently patrol the streets of downtown Toronto and other cities, equipped with butterfly nets and rescue supplies. They are on an urgent search and rescue mission.
Migrating birds have been drawn into the
city by the promise of a safe place to eat and rest in urban greenspace, or inadvertently
lured to the bright glow of city lights during their nightly marathon flights. Now
trapped inside a deadly maze of reflective and transparent glass buildings, they
risk a fatal collision with windows during the day. Those that manage to survive
a collision are often left vulnerable, exhausted, and injured in this alien,
Since FLAP’s inception in 1993, the
movement to protect birds from the nighttime and daytime dangers posed by light
pollution and sheet glass has grown. With FLAP’s guidance, other passionate and
dedicated groups have started their own FLAP-like bird rescue initiatives in
cities across North America. But as our cities grow and our love affair with
glass buildings continues unabated, there is a greater need than ever to act at
an even larger scale.
FLAP Canada has launched Global Bird Rescue, a weeklong event in the
first week of October, to empower people all around the globe to make a
difference for migrating birds. Join a united front of partners and
participants and add your observations (and your voice) to help grow the movement!
Here are 3 things you need to know about
this exciting annual event.
1. Participation is Easy
During Global Bird Rescue, participants
search for and document birds which have been killed or injured through
collisions with glass by walking around the base of buildings and recording
their observations on the Global Bird
Collision Mapper. Even if you aren’t an expert at identifying birds, you
can simply upload a photo with your observation. Every collision reported on
the Mapper becomes part of a global, publicly accessible database to help us
better understand the issue and to inform effective advocacy and policy efforts.
Bird-window collisions can happen anywhere there is glass. Whether it’s a daily search around the perimeter of your home, cottage, or office, or a more extensive search of collision hot spots in your city, you decide where you search and how much time you spend.
2. Anyone Can Participate, Anywhere
No matter who you are or where you live,
you can be instrumental in building a database of bird-window collision
observations for your city, province/state, or even your country.
You can participate in the event as an
individual, or rally together your friends, family, or colleagues, and
participate as a team. If you would like to see if a group has already been
started in your community, review our list of team
3. You Can Help Survivors Continue Their Migration
Victims of window collisions are extremely
vulnerable to predators, and often find themselves in dangerous situations such
as being grounded on a busy city sidewalk. The more people who are searching
for fallen birds during migration, the higher chance we have of finding
survivors quickly and getting them the help they need to continue their
You can be the difference between life and
death for a bird that has collided with glass. Read more about what you should
do if you find an injured bird here.
The Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP), a partner of Ontario Nature and member of our Nature Network, works tirelessly with the help of its volunteer force to educate citizens and protect migrating birds from the perils of urban environments.