An avian-friendly design has been added to the St. George entrance of the Ramsay Wright Laboratories thanks to a collaboration between Bird Safe UofT and Cell and Systems Biology.

Ramsay Wright’s glass doors on St George Street are now permanently marked with dots and adorned with beautiful artwork to prevent fatal bird collisions.

Bird Safe UofT co-founder Carly Davenport is a graduate student studying neurodegenerative diseases in the Institute of Medical Sciences, and an avid birder who can often be found scanning the Leslie Spit with her binoculars.

Davenport is a volunteer with FLAP Canada, which has the goal of saving birds by preventing collisions with buildings. “Foraging birds or birds maneuvering to avoid predators can collide with reflective glass surfaces, resulting in injury or death. I recently took a stunned Ovenbird from Ramsay Wright to recover at Toronto Wildlife Centre, but more often we find fatalities from window collisions on campus.”

The Ramsay Wright retrofit is one of a few across campus. Thanks to the efforts of BirdSafe UofT, Victoria College and New College have also had bird safety modifications added. “These installations are a good start, but we need more observers to document how many collisions are occurring on our campus; we are limited by a handful of volunteers who can only dedicate so much time,” notes Davenport.

“St George students can contact us through Instagram to report birds they find. We then input the data into Global Bird Collision Mapper and cite this in our advocacy with the University to prioritize further retrofits and bird-friendly glass on new builds.”

While new buildings in Toronto are required to include bird safety in their design plans, enforcement is rare and existing buildings are exempt. Even though Ramsay Wright dates back to the 60s, CSB is proud to act to protect our ecosystem. “By implementing bird-friendly measures, we can help protect our avian friends and maintain a healthy urban ecosystem,” asserts CSB Chief Administrative Officer Ben Eldridge.

Birds are key members of the ecosystem. Biological phenomena such as seed dispersal and pollination – indispensable to the well-being of all species, including human beings – are heavily dependent on birds. Protecting our birds with such initiatives is a crucial step in restoring balance to the urban environment.

Ramsay Wright’s Feather Friendly® coating is an easily implemented commercial solution to prevent bird window collisions. Crucially, the treatments are applied on the outside of the glass and are extremely durable even in rain and snow.

The dots on the Ramsay Wright windows have been supplemented with attractive artwork showcasing the biodiversity present on our campus from Laurna Germscheid, co-creator of Bird Safe UofT and also a FLAP Canada volunteer.

Carly and Laurna discussed their project on CBC’s Here and Now. Click here for a link to that segment.