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Bird Friendly Guidelines

Save Our Birds!

Did you know?

  • Bird and its reflection in a windowBird strikes are estimated to be the second largest cause of avian mortality in Canada, exceeded only by cats that seek prey
  • Approximately 900 bird strikes were recorded in Markham between 2000 and 2012
  • Migratory songbirds are involved in the highest number of collisions because they migrate at night and are attracted to nighttime lighting
  • Major municipalities such as Toronto, Calgary, Chicago, New York City and San Francisco have taken steps to reduce bird strikes by developing their own Bird Friendly Guidelines                                                                                                  

What are the Bird Friendly Guidelines?

Markham’s Bird Friendly Guidelines [PDF] have been developed to offer design-based solutions to make glass on buildings more visible to birds and avoid bird-window collisions.

Why do collisions occur?

Birds collide with buildings and windows for two reasons
1. They do not see glass; instead they see the reflection of the sky and landscape in a window and find it a place of refuge or habitat.
2. Birds that migrate at night use constellations as their guide and are often diverted from their path by light from building windows

Walking the Talk

In February 2014, Markham Council endorsed the Bird Friendly Guidelines and is committed to fostering bird friendly buildings by:

  • Retrofitting existing municipal buildings to meet the Bird Friendly Guidelines
  • Incorporating bird friendly design standards into new municipal buildings
  • Continuing to encourage best practices in private sector developments.

How to make your home bird friendly

Turn off your lights
Reduce light pollution during the night, and save energy!
Ensure exterior lights face downwards and not towards reflective surfaces

Reduce Window Transparency
Apply a patterned film every 10 cm in vertical columns, or every 5 cm in horizontal rows.
Close your curtains and blinds during the day; this will help keep your home cooler too!

Move Houseplants
More your plants away from the window, this prevents birds from being attracted to them as a place of habitat and refuge.

Relocate your birdfeeder
Place your bird feeder ½ meter away from windows or place it on a nearby tree for best viewing opportunities.

How do the Guidelines tie into Markham’s Community Sustainability Plan, the Greenprint?

Ecological Integrity is a designated priority under the Greenprint. One of Markham’s objectives under this priority is to increase biodiversity. Following through on a recommendation in the Greenprint to achieve this objective, Markham endorsed the Bird Friendly Guidelines in February 2014. Implementing the Guidelines also increases biodiversity by contributing to a dark sky policy, and raising awareness on wildlife in the community, two additional recommendations under this objective.

What to do if you find a bird, injured or dead, as a result of a window collision

Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) provides resources on what to do when you find a dead or injured bird. The first thing you can do is help FLAP track bird-window collisions by entering the incident in their FLAP Mapper – this tool is used as an international bird collision database to understand where these collisions are happening, and what can be done to prevent them.

In order to administer any necessary aid to injured birds, please refer to the Toronto Wildlife Center's Bird Rescue Tips, or call their Wildlife Hotline at 416-631-0662

More Resources:

Fatal Light Awareness Program

Toronto Wildlife Center