Monday, October 27, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Photo: Caitlin G.
Our first White-throated Sparrow this fall (Bldg. 24A).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Photo: Mary and Pat
American Robin (Bldg. 12F).
Photos: Aylett
 Tufted Titmouse (Bldg. 136A).

Stunned Sparrow, eventually flew away (also at Bldg. 136A).

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


One year ago when decided to investigate bird-window collisions at my office park, I had no idea what I'd be getting myself into.

One year later, we've documented 195 bird deaths.  46 confirmed species. 

Over the course of one year I've met some wonderful people. Kara, Chrissy, and Caitlin - you guys have been such a huge part of this project. If it weren't for you, this milestone would not have been reached.

Thank you to all my volunteers who helped build evidence that bird-window collisions is a huge problem we need to address. Thank you Katie, Julie, Catherine, Katy, Scott, Cindy, Lea, Elizabeth, Laura, Julia, Aylett, Justin, Mel, Lauren, Pat, Mary, Becky, Mike, Susan, Paul, and Eric. You all have made important contributions to this relatively unknown (sometimes ignored) threat to birds. Thank you to all my friends and family that supported this project during my little fundraising campaign.

I didn't think I could appreciate birds more than I already did before this project. But to see all the obstacles birds face on a daily/yearly basis, obstacles we as humans are responsible for, my appreciation for these tiny creatures increased exponentially.

Over the past year, I've found many dead birds in perfect condition with no obvious external signs of injury. I've found birds who were once beautiful and free, reduced to nothing but ant food. I've watched birds fly into windows right in front of me. One day in April, I sat with a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, hoping it would overcome the injuries it sustained flying into one of the numerous mirror-like windows in the office park. I sat with that Hummingbird until I witnessed its last breath. 

This is depressing work, there is no doubt about that. I have a difficult time not letting my emotions take over. I am constantly upset with myself for not being charismatic or convincing enough to the powers that be to make the changes necessary to reduce the number of bird deaths here. I thought the birds would speak for themselves. But they can't. I thought 100 bird deaths would be more than enough. But they aren't.

How do you make people care? I'm having a difficult time figuring out the answer to this question.  Maybe most people just don't want to think about it. It seems like an enormous problem to tackle.  But we have to think about it, it is not going away. If policies are required to make people do something about it, then I guess that needs to happen. Whether it be turning off the bright city lights at night, moving bird feeders from mirror-like windows, soaping our windows at home, not washing our windows, installing window films, getting creative and turning reflective windows into non-reflective pieces of art instead - these are all things within our capacity to do.

"Even the smallest bird is a miracle that needs no further vindication or defense--which by its very existence demands our attention and respect." -Scott Weidensaul

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Photos: Caitlin G.

Mourning Dove (below) and window imprint (above) (Bldg.1D).


Woodpecker spp. (Bldg. 10E).

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"There's never been a better time to be alive if you want to save species, because there's so many on the ropes. It's an excellent time to be alive, because we all can change things right now."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gray Catbird (Bldg. 11D).

Our first Tufted Titmouse was in such terrible condition, I just couldn't post the picture (Bldg. 12B). I say a lot of these birds are my favorite, but in reality, it's a close race between the Tufted Titmouse and Hermit Thrush.
Photos: Aylett.

Sometimes sparrows don't get the credit they deserve.  Just look at the gorgeous color and markings of this Song Sparrow. 

Somehow, and I really have no idea how, this is the same Song Sparrow that was reported on 10/9 at Bldg. 136, found again at the same location on 10/13.
Michael Mesure, Founder and Executive Director of FLAP Canada, discusses the dangers that windows present to Toronto's migratory bird population and what you can do to help, in this video by Toronto Corporate Video Productions.
Birds striking buildings during a migration season an all too common site, says FLAP group.

See the video here:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"Ultraviolet patterns can make window glass visible to birds, thus preventing fatal collisions. However, it has now been shown that such windows are not likely to work for all species, but only for birds like small passerines, gulls and parrots, who have a special type of colour vision. For birds of prey, geese, pigeons and crows, these patterns should be difficult to detect."

These conclusions appear today in an article by Olle Håstad and Anders Ödeen in PeerJ (

The article can be found here:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Photo: Caitlin G.

New species:  Red-eyed Vireo.

Unusual report today.  We aren't sure what exactly happened to this Swainson's Thrush (Bldg. 118).

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Photo: Lauren.
Not yet identified (Bldg. 115).

Designing safer cities for migrating birds dying from window collisions

Reported bird death on campus, October 3, at 2:17 pm (Bldg. 111).

We are working on getting the inside plants moved away from the window.  You can see right through to the other side, creating a tunnel that the bird thought it could fly through.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Photos: Caitlin G.
 Chestnut-sided Warbler.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Unfortunately, we'll never know what species this was since someone ran it over with their car.  It was trying to fly through the glass walkway pictured below.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Miranda captured the beauty and sadness of birds that meet an untimely death due to collisions with windows.  You can't help but be moved by these images. 

IMPACT : Miranda Brandon



Wednesday, October 1, 2014