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Bird Friendly development guidelines - Lights Out Program

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News Release - May 8, 2015: Torontonians encouraged to help protect migrating birds

City staff along with interested community partners and stakeholders, have developed migratory bird policies in a comprehensive, three-pronged approach. This involves: 1) efforts around the rescue, rehabilitation and release of injured birds; 2) the "Lights Out Toronto!" public awareness campaign that draws attention to the dangers the urban environment poses to migrating birds; and 3) the development of strategies and options for developers, building owners and managers, and tenants to help make buildings less dangerous for migrating birds, which are provided in the "Bird-Friendly Development Guidelines".

Why do birds fly into windows?
Many species of migratory birds travel at night and brightly-lit urban areas along their routes pose a serious threat. Birds become disoriented by the light and are drawn toward it, similar to insects. As birds fly towards the light of urban areas, they become trapped in the unfamiliar urban environment, which often results in the death of these birds when they fly into buildings. By reducing light pollution levels at night, the City could prevent many deaths of migratory birds.

Bird-Friendly Development Guidelines
Provides architects, planners, urban designers, building owners and managers, tenants and homeowners with a comprehensive list of possible options for new or existing developments that will make them less dangerous for migratory birds. The guidelines were developed with the participation of architects, development corporations, property management corporations, bird advocacy groups, and City staff. A copy of the Guidelines is available online.

Lights Out Toronto
Is a public awareness campaign aimed at informing people of the dangers the urban environment poses to migratory birds. It encourages people to help reduce light pollution, which draws birds into the city, by asking them to turn out unnecessary lights at work and at home.

Who is responsible for the 'Lights Out Toronto!' Public Awareness Campaign
The City works with several stakeholders including Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP), Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), Environment Canada, and bird advocacy groups. These stakeholders form a working group that determines the various best means of getting the 'lights out' message to the public.

If you work in a high rise building, then you can do the following: make sure you turn off your office lights when you leave; when working late, use task lighting and/or draw your office blinds and take similar measures at home.

Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) needs and recruits volunteers and accepts financial support from private donors. For more information contact FLAP directly by email: flap@flap.org or visit the FLAP website.