A bird in the hand... by Mark Peck, Ornithology Technician, ROM Biodiversity

Posted: March 22, 2013 - 15:43 , by Dave Ireland
Biodiversity, Collections, Education & Engagement | Comments (9) | Comment
A bird in the hand... by Mark Peck

2400 Dead Birds - FLAP event 2013 c. Brian Boyle


During spring and fall migration, thousands of birds die due to collisions with buildings in the Greater Toronto Area. Through the dedication of the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) and its volunteers, injured birds are rehabilitated through the Toronto Wildlife Centre and the dead birds are brought to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). One spring day each year, for about two hours, the frozen birds are laid out and displayed for the public and media as a poignant reminder of the problem. Fortunately, the story does not end here. After the display is completed the afterlife of the specimen begins. ROM staff carefully scan through the specimens looking for birds that may be added to our galleries (Life in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity), our permanent research collections or, with the support of Environment Canada, are made available to other government and non-government agencies for their research and educational programming. By the end of the year, most of the specimens have found a new home.

Recently developed programs like Lights Out Toronto and the Bird Friendly Development Guidelines (http://www.toronto.ca/lightsout/guidelines.htm) along with efforts by architects and property managers continue to result in further reductions in bird collisions. Congratulations to the staff and volunteers of the Fatal Light Awareness Program (http://www.flap.org/commercial.php) for their 20 years of perseverance and devotion.


Comment by Ron Bennett

"After the display is completed the afterlife of the specimen begins. " How are the birds preserved during this phase?

Comment by Eleni Smolen

I am interested to know if there is any photographs of the birds laid out...I am an artist/painter and would like to perhaps work from some photographs. I live in Beacon, NY but born in Canada...I didn't have time to visit the ROM when I was there last week to see this but read about it in the paper.

Comment by Lance Cross

Is there a species list of birds collected? I live in a river delta and find this phenomena alien and interesting.

Comment by Kyo Maclear

I would like to attend this year's migratory bird viewing ((as organized by FLAP). I am currently writing a book about birds and would like to mention this project.
Thank you in advance for your response.
Warm regards,
Kyo Maclear

Comment by Joe D.

Can you direct me to a citation for this number? : "Research estimates that 1-10 birds will hit each building, each year, in North America" I am writing a paper on bird strikes and would like to include it.