IN BOTH CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES BILLIONS OF BIRDS ARE DISAPPEARING

“The skies are emptying out,” says the New York Times. Bird numbers are down by nearly three billion over the last 50 years, and it isn’t only exotic and rare birds that are disappearing. Many common species are going too.TORONTO’s buildings are killing millions of them annually due to fatal light awareness. In other words, they collide with our city’s skyscraper forest.Every spring and fall, day and night, hundreds of thousands of birds overfly the city, to and from the southland.  Unobstructed until they reach Greater Toronto, these tiny spirits are suddenly confronted by hundreds of buildings – some 70-80 storeys high, and oftentimes illuminated. Millions annually plummet to their deaths from these structures.<ABOVE – the four North American bird flyways.  TORONTO is in the Atlantic Flyway>FLAP (or the Fatal Light Awareness Program) is TORONTO-based.  It’s been valiantly fighting to save the birds, and is having some success.  Through research, education, rescue, rehabilitation, and now the courts, FLAP is challenging developers to be much more environmentally friendly.In an earlier New York Times article, “Toronto Looks to Save Casualties of Urban Skies”, October 28/2012,  Ian Austen writes: “There is no precise ranking of the world’s most deadly cities for migratory birds, but TORONTO is considered a top contender for the title . . . (Professor Daniel Klem Jr., an ornothologist at Muhlenberg College in Allentown Pa.) was quick to say that the city also leads North America when it comes to addressing the problem.FLAP volunteers rise before dawn every day, and head out carrying butterfly nets and paper bags.  They rescue injured birds before the city wakes up for another day. The dead are wrapped in paper, and taken to FLAP headquarters.  The injured are treated, and later released on the shores of Lake Ontario.  More than 164 species have collided with Greater TORONTO’s buildings in the last 15 years.<ABOVE – an injured Ovenbird being treated.  It will eventually be released.>  To find out more about TORONTO’s Fatal Light Awareness Program (or FLAP), call 416-366-3527 or check their website – https://flap.org/  Volunteers and contributions are always welcome.  <PHOTOS –SARA SCHARF & J.P. Moczulski>