Birds in Guelph need your help, according to a new conservation group.
The Bird Safe Guelph Initiative has been organized by University of Guelph students to help local bird species thrive through education and conservation efforts. Currently, the group is offering free kits to help residents bird-proof their windows.
Windows present a danger to birds. According to their website, 25 million birds in Canada are killed or injured each year due to windows.
They explain birds cannot see glass, and reflections of trees or light may cause them to think they can fly through a window, resulting in a collision. These collisions may kill the birds upon impact, or stun them, making these creatures prey for larger predators.
"Some people know, but they don't know how much harm that windows can actually do," says Hayley Wilson, a founder of the group.
To solve this, Bird Safe Guelph is offering kits with window decals which will help reduce the number of collisions. The group is offering two choices which come in a permanent and semi-permanent option. For those interested in the permanent option, residents will need to register before Jan. 30.
Originally, Wilson says the group was looking to do this at the university, but it was going to be a very costly endeavour. So instead of that, she says they decided to offer it to the community.
"On a small scale, it's relatively easy and fun to do at your own home," Wilson explains, "And we thought that people within the community would be interested in participating in this."
By gathering community support, they also hope the university will reconsider upon seeing how many people participate in the program.
Once residents sign up and choose an option, their kits will be delivered to their home. After receiving a kit, the group is asking residents to have the decals up by May 21 before spring migration. They are also asking residents to answer a small survey and send them a photo of their windows. Instructions for putting up the decals can be found on their website.
When asked about her experiences working on this project, Wilson says it's been exciting to see that they're making a difference first-hand as she hopes to work within the local conservation field one day.
"Doing something like this within the community, where you can see that you're actually changing people's minds and getting people excited about something that you're also excited about, is what I think is the most rewarding for me, " says Wilson.
Wilson says they hope everyone who wants to participate will cover at least one window in their home. Since starting this initiative they have managed to cover 30 square feet with their decals.
"We have a hundred kits, and each kit can cover a window that's six feet by three or four feet," she says.
The project is a collaboration with the U of G sustainability office, Feather Friendly and the Fatal Light Action Program (FLAP). Funding for these kits was made possible through Eco-Leadership Journey, a program with the World Wildlife Federation of Canada (WWF-Canada) and Chantiers jeunesse, supporting youth environmental initiatives.
For more information about the program, go to birdsafeguelph.ca.