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For the Birds: Making Our Campus Buildings Avian-Friendly

Sep. 22, 2023

Students and staff came together to paint patterns on glass in a community effort to reduce window strikes during the fall migration.

By Minh Truong 

The windows at E.J. Pratt Library just got a feather-friendly makeover, after students painted white sketches of trees on the glass to help keep birds from colliding with Victoria University's beautiful buildings.   

A collaboration between BirdSafe U of T and Victoria University in the University of Toronto, the bird-friendly building initiative event brought together students and staff who are passionate about protecting the diverse species of birds that share our space. The window-treatment process involved drawing dense, high-contrast patterns on the outside surface, creating a barrier that breaks up the reflection and warns birds about the glass. The goal is to reduce the number of bird-window collision fatalities on Vic U campus this fall migration. The project aligns with the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) Canada’s bird-safe campus initiative. 

Kam Jahromi, interim senior manager of campus operations. (Photo by Minh Truong)

Hearing the concerns about bird safety on Vic U’s campus from students and staff, Kam Jahromi, interim senior manager of campus operations, helped organize the event with BirdSafe U of T. Participants set up prints of the bird-friendly drawings, using them as guides to paint the outside windows of Pratt Library. Vic U president Rhonda McEwen also joined the students, faculty and staff members to help with the initiative. 

Jahromi was grateful for the community turnout. “Students loved both the art and the event’s environmental focus,” he said. “They are interested in taking part in similar initiatives in the future! The collaboration shows our commitment to community engagement and highlights that sustainability is a collective effort.” 

BirdSafe U of T co-creator and FLAP Canada volunteer Carly Davenport was happy with the event. “Everyone is engaged and interested in our cause,” she said. “It was great to speak with students from all backgrounds and academic careers coming to learn about the event.” 

The next events are scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 28 and Friday, Oct. 6, transforming not only E.J. Pratt Library but also other buildings across campus. 

Installing bird-friendly windows is part of Victoria University’s commitment to sustainability. Led by the Department of Infrastructure and Sustainability, the Victoria University Sustainability Committee was established in 2018 and promotes collective initiatives within the Vic U community. Read more about the University’s sustainability efforts.

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