Community NewsToronto

Toronto Launches ‘Lights Out’ Campaign to Safeguard Migratory Birds

The City of Toronto has embarked on a groundbreaking initiative aimed at safeguarding migratory birds during their annual journeys. Launching the “Lights Out Toronto” campaign, Toronto takes proactive measures to reduce fatal collisions between birds and urban buildings, signaling a significant step towards environmental conservation.

With the onset of spring in Toronto comes the commencement of one of the two annual bird migration seasons, drawing millions of avian travelers through the city. However, urban areas like Toronto pose inherent risks to these migrating birds, with an estimated 25 million fatalities occurring across Canada each year due to collisions with building windows.

In response to this critical issue, the City of Toronto has unveiled the “Lights Out Toronto” campaign, spanning the spring from April 1 to May 31 and the fall from September 1 to October 31. This city-wide initiative calls upon residents and businesses alike to join forces in protecting migratory birds by minimizing unnecessary nighttime lighting.

Encouraging public participation, the campaign urges Toronto residents and businesses to adopt simple yet impactful practices. These include turning off interior lighting, especially on higher floors, closing window coverings at night if lights must remain on, and deactivating exterior decorative lighting, pot lights, and flood lights when not in use.

Furthermore, the campaign advocates for the substitution of strobe lighting and the reduction of atrium lighting whenever feasible. Installing automatic motion sensors and controls is also recommended to minimize light usage during the migration periods.

Toronto’s leadership in bird conservation is underscored by its proactive measures. The city was the first in North America to implement bird protection policies, requiring new developments to incorporate bird-friendly designs for lighting features and glass through the Toronto Green Standard.

Aligning with the City Council’s directive, all properties operated by City Divisions, Agencies, and Corporations are mandated to adhere to the practice of turning off non-essential lights during the migratory bird seasons. Exceptions are granted for special events or critical operations.

The “Lights Out Toronto” campaign not only serves to protect migratory birds but also emphasizes the crucial role birds play in maintaining ecological balance and biodiversity. By reducing bird collisions, Toronto reaffirms its commitment to environmental stewardship and upholding its Official Plan, Toronto Green Standard, and Biodiversity Strategy.

For more information on the campaign and ways to participate, residents and businesses can visit the City’s website at www.toronto.ca/LightsOut.

As Toronto takes bold strides towards bird conservation, the “Lights Out Toronto” campaign stands as a beacon of hope for both avian visitors and environmental advocates alike.

Kelly

Kelly Deschamps is the dedicated City Hall Reporter, bringing forth the pulse of municipal affairs with precision and clarity. With an astute eye for detail and a passion for uncovering the stories that shape urban life, Deschamps delivers comprehensive coverage of local governance. For inquiries or feedback, contact Kelly at kelly.deschamps@gtaweekly.ca

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