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Petitioning City of Ottawa

Prevent Thousands of Bird Fatalities: Join the Call for Bird Friendly Guidelines in Ottawa

A great many bird species inhabit the City of Ottawa, from the colourful warblers of spring and summer to the year-round resident black capped chickadee, whose cheerful melody is familiar to us all. Whether asking a seasoned naturalist or no, most would agree that the rich diversity of birds Ottawa enjoys bring important ecological, social, and cultural benefits to our Nation’s capital.

Unfortunately, all birds face several obstacles to their survival, many of which are man-made. One significant obstacle is the unintentional collision with windows, an issue especially pronounced in urban environments such as Ottawa. While the number of bird moralities attributable to collisions with windows is difficult to determine, a 2013 study conducted by Craig Machtans, Christopher Wedeles, and Erin Bayne suggests the number to be approximately 25 million per year in Canada.

Several factors contribute to this staggering number, including the number of urban centers along the flight paths of migrating bird species, light pollution, and even the most basic physical properties of glass and other reflective surfaces.

The severity of this issue should trouble anyone who recognizes the social, ecological, and intrinsic value of birds. Fortunately, there are several active and informative measures which could serve to mitigate the unnecessary continuation of window collisions. An excellent first step in promoting these measures arrives at the level of municipal policy.

Both the City of Toronto and the City of Vancouver have developed Bird Friendly Guidelines.These documents provide a voluntary source of information regarding the factors which contribute to window collisions as well as preventative steps and strategies available to concerned business owners, building managers, architects, and homeowners.

Currently, the City of Ottawa does not maintain a set of Bird Friendly Guidelines.

It is here argued that the City of Ottawa should join other Canadian jurisdictions in keeping Canada's birds safe by promoting the development of official Bird Friendly Guidelines. These guidelines would not only strengthen the environmental reputation of our Nation’s Capital, but also promote awareness and subsequently prevent fatal window collisions.

Through this petition, we the undersigned contribute to the call of several environmental enthusiasts and concerned citizens for the development of a set of informative, voluntary Bird Friendly Guidelines in Ottawa. It is our shared belief that the development of said guidelines would provide an official and important environmental resource for the City. Furthermore, we agree that the thousands of annual, preventable bird fatalities in Ottawa deserves the action and attention of our elected officials.

By signing this petition, I hereby acknowledge that this petition will become a public document at the City of Ottawa and that all information contained in it will be subject to the scrutiny of the City, and will be publicly available. Questions about the collection and disclosure of personal information contained in this petition should be directed to the City Clerk, 110 Laurier Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 1J1.

Sources

Machtans, C. S., C. H. R. Wedeles, and E. M. Bayne. 2013. A first estimate for Canada of the number of birds killed by colliding with building windows. Avian Conservation and Ecology 8(2): 6.

Fatal Light Awareness Program Canada (http://www.flap.org)

 

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