Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Kill the Lights, Save the Birds...perhaps

Each night when I leave the office I get a chirpy reminder from the cleaning crew to turn off the lights. Apparently, Toronto is the aviary murder capital of North America and thousands of migratory birds are killed each night by flying into lit office windows.

So? I ask you. Am I the only one who thinks the world could benefit from a few less pigeons and sparrows? (The phrase "migratory birds" is a nicer way of referring to ugly, disease-carrying birds. Morning doves, blue jays and cardinals seem able to avoid tall buildings.)

There is no ecologically defensible reason for so many pigeons to live in this town. Or gulls, for that matter. Gulls need to know their place, which is down by the lakeshore, NOT in the park by my house, at sunrise, several miles north. We humans appear to have killed the natural predator for these beasts, and we aren't eating enough squab to correct the imbalance. I say, let's multitask and use our office buildings to rebalance the ecosystem.

And while we're at it, let's find a lightbulb that attracts Canada Geese. Most of them don't even bother making it all the way north anymore; like many VCs, they can be found in a pond just south of the border, enjoying American grasses and algae.

I'm not suggesting we eradicate the entire bird population of Toronto. Show me a pigeon who eats lyme disease-bearing ticks or some other bug that might harm me, and I'll buy him some sunglasses. But for the rest of them, my light stays on.

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