April 17, 2006

"Lights Out Toronto" aims to prevent collisions between birds, buildings

TORONTO, ONT-Toronto Mayor David Miller last week launched the annual "Lights Out Toronto" public awareness campaign to help save the lives of migrating birds. The city is a world leader in this regard, being the first to make bird protection an official policy. Attracted and confused by night-time city lights, migrating birds often crash into high-rise buildings. It is an international problem which has contributed to significant population decline for many bird species. The campaign asks high-rise building occupants to turn out unneeded lighting, particularly during spring and fall migration. The city's "Lights Out Toronto" partners to date include the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP); Toronto Hydro; Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service; the Greater Toronto Area chapter of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA); the Toronto Wildlife Centre; Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA); the Toronto Zoo; the Toronto Ornithological Club; Earth Rangers; Humane Society International; the Toronto Bird Observatory; and Toronto Field Naturalists. Toronto Hydro president and CEO David O'Brien, a keen supporter of the campaign, said, "This initiative will allow millions of migratory birds safe passage to their summer habitat in the spring, and wintering grounds in the fall. We encourage all our customers to shut their lights off at night to save birds, electricity and money-all at the same time." More information is available on-line at www.toronto.ca/lightsout, or by calling 416/366-FLAP (3527).

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