Is enough being done to prevent Ontario’s birds from window collision deaths?


York University bird expert is available for comment

TORONTO, October 7, 2019 – The catastrophically high number of birds killed every year when they smash into glass windows is one of the main reasons why Canada and the United States have lost almost 3 billion birds since 1970, according to York University Professor Bridget Stutchbury.

Starting on Tuesday, October 8, York University will be installing a bird-friendly, dot-patterned window treatment at several key sites at the university’s Keele campus to make the windows more visible to migrating birds and reduce bird deaths.

York University Professor Bridget Stutchbury

York is one of the first universities in Ontario and among the first universities in Canada to install a bird-safety film to the windows of key older buildings known for a higher number of bird deaths. The bird-safety film has been shown to reduce bird mortality by 80 percent.

Stutchbury, a professor in the Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science, and an expert on bird extinction and migratory songbird declines, leads York’s sustainability efforts to prevent bird deaths, along with her Masters student Lisa Horn.

An internationally-recognized expert on the ecology, behaviour and conservation of birds, Stutchbury is best known for her 2009 study of the migratory behaviour of birds, in which tiny tracking devices were placed in miniature backpacks on the birds’ backs, and then retrieved a year later after migration. She has written or co-written more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles including A neonicotinoid insecticide reduces fueling and delays migration in songbirds, published last month.

Across Canada, about 25 million birds are killed each year when they accidentally fly into glass windows, while bird collisions with buildings are estimated at one to 10 million each year just in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Toronto is on a major migratory corridor and York University, with its green landscaping and several woodlots, is a common spot for migrating birds.

Stutchbury estimates that at least 1,000 birds each year are killed by window collision at the Keele campus, which is to be expected given the many buildings and natural landscaping. She is available to explain how residents, businesses and institutions can prevent bird-window collisions, and provide insight on why birds are so highly vulnerable to reflective glass windows.

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York U's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

Media Contact: Vanessa Thompson, York University Media Relations, 647-654-9452,