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Thud! Toronto's fatal bird crashes land lawsuits

Post Time:Apr 12,2012Classify:Industry NewsView:196

 

Lesley Sloan’s workdays at an office tower in north Toronto were marked by the chilling impact of birds against her sixth-floor window.

 

“I’ll never be able to remove the sound of the thuds from my head,” she told an Ontario court last week.

 

Sloan, an administrative assistant at Ricoh Canada, would see the macabre results at the start and end of her shift — scores of broken, feathered bodies at the foot of three office towers, which make up a complex called the Yonge Corporate Centre.

 

The complex is accused of being the most lethal for bird collisions in Toronto, killing or injuring more than 22,000 migratory birds from 2000 to 2010, according to FLAP, a non-profit group that has tracked bird collision deaths and injuries in the city since 1993.

 

That alleged lethal record has landed the giant property owner Cadillac Fairview Corp. in court, accused of breaking a federal law, the Species at Risk Act, and two provincial ones, the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The company has pleaded not guilty to charges brought against it by the Canadian environmental group, Ecojustice.

 

In what observers believe could become a precedent-setting lawsuit, Ecojustice lawyer Albert Koehl alleges the birds are lured to their bone-crushing deaths by reflective panes of glass that cover the buildings from top to bottom. They mirror the sky and nearby trees, tricking birds into thinking they can fly right through, Koehl argues.

 

The case highlights what some ornithologists describe as a largely ignored carnage in North America.

 

In the United States, collisions with buildings kill an estimated 100 million to 1 billion birds annually, says Daniel Klem, a leading ornithologist at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania. By comparison, the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska killed an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 birds.

 

“Yet the far greater toll by sheet glass largely goes unnoticed, ignored, or simply not understood by most professional and non-professional ornithologists and conservationists,” Klem writes.

 

Source: http://www.usgnn.comAuthor: shangyi

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