Feb 27 2013

A Victory For Birds In Canada

Published by at 6:30 am under Musings & News

Yonge Corporate Centre (photo from Yonge Corporate Centre)

If you've read this blog for any length of time you've been here with me when I've mourned the loss of yet another juvenile peregrine who died by hitting a window.  We lose at least one of Pittsburgh's young peregrines this way every year.  Windows kill but now there's a ruling in Canada that gives me hope this will change, even in the U.S.

This month Judge Melvyn Green of the Ontario Court of Justice ruled that two laws that protect birds in Canada, EPA and SARA, "are properly interpreted to prohibit the emission (intentional or unintentional) of reflected light where that reflection causes the death or injury of birds."

In other words, massive window kills count just as much as if you'd shot the birds.  Your windows are breaking the law.

The buildings that prompted the ruling are Yonge Corporate Centre, pictured above, one of many corporate centers in Toronto where thousands of birds are injured or killed each year.  To their credit Yonge Corporate Centre had already begun to mitigate the problem with window film, due in part to a lawsuit by Ecojustice Canada and Ontario Nature against another deadly corporate center, Consilium Place.  Click here for a photo of Consilium Place and information on the lawsuit.

“The law is now clear that owners and managers of buildings with reflective windows that kill or injure birds must take action. This is a major success, even if it’s not a complete victory,”said Ecojustice lawyer Albert Koehl.

So a big thank you goes out to Ecojustice Canada, Ontario Nature and the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) for this victory!  I hope it ripples southward and prompts a change in the U.S. too.


Read more about the ruling in the American Bird Conservancy's press release, source of the quotes above.

(photo of Yonge Corporate Center from the media page of Yonge Corporate Center website. Click on the image to see the original.)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “A Victory For Birds In Canada”

  1. Peteron 27 Feb 2013 at 7:49 am

    Great news! I’ve been waiting anxiously to hear or see exactly how the new PNC building downtown will be skinned. They’re going for a high LEED score, but the last revision of the scoring I saw only had a proposal to make bird-safe windows part of the scoring.

    I hope this trickles on south, but could take a bit. In the meantime, I hold out hope our city can make a move on the issue as many other cities have (New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto) have with guidelines for new construction. It would certainly be in line with the role Pittsburgh has taken in green buildings otherwise.

  2. Steve-oon 27 Feb 2013 at 8:52 am

    Maybe get it a similar law onto the Pittsburgh books. It’s a mayoral election year, now could be the chance to get something happening.

  3. John P. Englishon 27 Feb 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Bravo, Ontario!

  4. Kim Steiningeron 08 Mar 2013 at 5:53 pm

    This is wonderful news! I sure hope the same happens here in the states. I’m wondering when they’re going to start making it against the law to let your cat(s) outside!

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