September 26, 2005

New FLAP partnership aims to cut bird losses from collisions with night-illuminated buildings

TORONTO, ONT-A precedent-setting partnership involving the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP), Toronto Hydro and the city of Toronto will position Toronto as a North American leader in migratory bird conservation. The "Lights OUT Toronto" campaign aims to protect thousands of birds that may be hurt or killed by nighttime-illuminated buildings. Toronto is situated on a major migratory flyway used by millions of birds twice each year. FLAP estimates that in Toronto's financial district alone, at least 10,000 migratory birds are killed or injured from collisions with lighted buildings. "We encourage all our customers to shut their lights off at night to save birds, electricity and money - all at the same time," said Toronto Hydro president and CEO David O'Brien. "FLAP was established in 1993 as a non-profit charity to rescue birds, and also to research ways to reduce the large number of birds lost each year" said Heather Ray, the group's director of resource and partnership development. "By taking a few simple steps, such as turning out lights at night and eliminating the reflective quality of windows during the day, bird injury and death can be easily prevented." FLAP volunteers patrol concentrated areas in Toronto to save and rehabilitate what birds they can or pick up those that have been killed. Since 1993, they have catalogued more than 28,000 bird fatalities; representing 158 species - 40% of which are facing population decline are already endangered.

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