Birds killed flying into buildings on display at Toronto museum

Lindsay Jolivet
Daily Buzz
March 22, 2013
Across Canada employment among youths fell,
Commuters cross a street in downtown Toronto, Ontario, in March 2011. Employment in Canada was mostly unchanged in February, but a decline in the number of people looking for work pushed the jobless rate down slightly to 7.4 percent, a government agency said Friday. (AFP Photo/Jewel Samad)

Visitors stepped into the Royal Ontario Museum this week for a look at a piece of urban history — a layout of dead birds that had collided with Toronto buildings.

The Fatal Light Awareness Program, or appropriately, FLAP, hosts the yearly exhibition using collected corpses of birds that were victims of window collisions. Sounds like messy work.

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Next to artifacts from ancient Cyprus and historical architecture from China, dead birds seem like a bizarre choice for a museum. But there's a point to make here.

It's that Toronto, not only its people but its very existence, is deadly to birds.

No wait, that wasn't it.

About a million birds are killed every year after colliding with buildings in Toronto, according to research by FLAP.

Since birds have no concept of glass, reflective windows trick them into thinking there's clear sky before them, when in fact there's an office tower. Birds also become disoriented because of bright lights shining through cities at night, according to the organization.

The troubles of a migrating bird don't stop there. You try flying south across an entire continent while dodging wind turbines, condo buildings and Lachute, Quebec.

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The main lesson here is to stick something on your window.