In the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, the Calgary Urban Species Response Team strives to reduce urban risks to wildlife, support mindful care of local ecology and share meaningful opportunities to learn together and encourage participation.
Downtown Window Strike Surveys
Since 2019 volunteers have been systematically conducting surveys in downtown Calgary to find evidence of window strikes by birds and bats during spring and fall migration.
Protocols are aligned with FLAP Canada. The goal is to gain an understanding of the impact of windows on migratory species passing through Calgary and use this information to support improvements in building design and maintenance. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our surveys through experience and consultation with other organizations and stakeholders.
Fall 2019 Findings of Calgary Surveys
During Fall of 2019, our volunteers conducted standard surveys up to 3X per day for a two-month period of time through the downtown core of Calgary, Alberta. Each survey, data was collected on the number of strikes found (whole birds and bats, living or deceased), their location, evidence of strikes (feather piles), and outcome when live animals were rescued.
Our volunteers located:
- 72 whole birds: 18 of which were alive and 94% were rehabilitated successfully.
- 35 piles of feathers or other portions of deceased birds indicating strikes.
- Five (5) bats: All were found alive. 4 were rescued and rehabilitated (1 evaded rescue)
On our Fall surveys, we quickly learned which buildings would have strikes and which would not. Multiple species were affected. Most were migratory birds.
Our intention is not to shame or place blame. We have no reason to believe that businesses are intentionally causing harm. It is reasonable to believe that most are unaware of the number of strikes that are occurring. We will be making this information available (on a per building basis), along with information regarding potential mitigation strategies.
Please note: the actual numbers of birds and bats affected by buildings during any survey season is likely much higher than those found by our team. We are only on site at each building for a few minutes before carrying onto the next. We are also on site at only a small proportion of the potential buildings. Furthermore, scavengers such as magpies and crows will quickly consume a stunned bird or disorientated bat. It is also expected that cleaning staff routinely pick up any carcasses and dispose of them.
More information on bird strikes
To request any information regarding our strike surveys, including data specific to your business, please contact us at: CalgaryResponse@gmail.com. We are happy to work with you.
Enhancing Habitat For Urban Wildlife
At CUSRT we have come to realize that supporting migratory and resident birds goes beyond window strikes. Habitat loss is among the biggest drivers of not just bird declines but biodiversity in general. Diversity is strength and we aim to support all biodiversity in the City. Working with other organizations including Grow Wild YYC and Bird Friendly Calgary, we are learning how we can help birds and other wildlife thrive in the city. We hope to support others as they convert their space to a more wildlife friendly space through the use of native plants, window strike prevention and light pollution reduction for a start.
We believe that knowledge is power and we want to share that with the world. Through collaborations with experts, we host Wildlife Wednesdays, bringing the opportunity to connect our work with that of others. Topics have ranged from Traditional Indigenous Knowledge about birds, preparing your garden for winter while supporting biodiversity, learning more about our native bees and bringing to light local environmental issues.
Got an idea for Wildlife Wednesday?