Most of us have experienced the horror of watching a bird run into a window. The cleaner and larger the window, the more harmful to birds. Let's face it, some humans can't tell the difference between open air and glass - and they're walking. So a glass building just has nightmare written all over it.
But Toronto (God, I love Canada!) is taking measures to protect our beloved flyers from the dangers of glass.
Toronto first made history in 2009 when they became the first city in the world to mandate bird-friendly buildings.
What is a bird friendly building?
In order to be bird friendly, any structure built within Toronto city limits must incorporate several features that prevent birds from accidentally flying into the glass.
For starters, Toronto buildings are no longer built with excessive glass paneling so birds are not tricked by the surface’s reflections. Much of the glass that is on the exterior of the building features some kind of pattern that makes it recognizable to avian eyes.
Some windows are recessed into the buildings in order to reduce reflections. Other windows are simply equipped with blinds or sun shades.
Since birds can also be drawn to bright spots in the sky, city buildings turn off their lights at night.
In addition to mandating that all new Toronto buildings are constructed with these avian-friendly guidelines, older buildings have also been given slight upgrades to accommodate the migrating species.
According to the BBC video below, bird deaths were almost completely eliminated after patterns were added to several pre-existing building windows.
These groundbreaking initiatives are thanks to the work of the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) – a charity dedicated to saving birds from the dangers of reflective city glass.
Michael Mesure, FLAP’s Executive Director, said in a statement: “FLAP’s years of tireless work in bird conservation has finally produced one of our most desired results, which up to now could only be dreamed of.
Let us not forget: Toronto could never have become a champion in bird-friendliness without the pinnacle roles played by the stakeholders of Lights Out! Toronto, Toronto City Council, and City of Toronto Planning Department staff. For this, FLAP and the birds are eternally grateful.”