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November 18, 2009
Toronto hosts international symposium on bird conservation November 19- 20
This week, international delegates will descend on Toronto to learn about bird conservation at the Symposium on Bird Conservation in Urban Areas. The event will take place November 19- 20 at City Hall and other locations, and will focus on how to can create safe urban areas for migratory birds.

The dangers posed to birds by today's modern urban landscapes are extremely new in evolutionary time scales, and birds have been unable to alter natural behaviours in response to relatively recent products of human activity. Join concerned advocates, planners, architects, developers, academics and students in discussing this issue at this timely symposium.

Participants have the opportunity to get involved in the discussion with multiple panel discussions and a charette. Make sure you sign up to participate in this event, which is a first for Toronto. The event takes place Thursday November 19, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Sheraton Centre (123 Queen St. W., Churchill Room), and Friday November 20, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at City Hall. For registration and further information, please visit:

Keynote addresses include Birds of Two Worlds by Bridget Stutchbury, Professor of Biology, York University; Meta-strategies for Reducing Bird Collisions by Christine Sheppard, American Bird Conservancy; and Approaches to Solving Avian Mortality in Cities by Daniel Klem, Professor of Biology, Muhlenberg College, Allentown PA.

“Toronto is the ideal place to host such an event,” says Kelly Snow, Toronto City Planning. “The City adopted its first migratory bird protections policies in 2006, and since that time has worked hard to increase awareness of preventable birds deaths.” In 2007, the City launched its Lights Out Toronto campaign, introduced Bird-Friendly Development Guidelines, and has implemented the Bird-Friendly Development Rating System and Acknowledgment Program.

Many bird populations are decreasing rapidly throughout North and South America and it is inconceivable that they can evolve quickly enough to adjust to massive urbanization, deforestation, habitat loss, climate change, and other factors threatening them. Cities are key places where adjustments in human behaviour necessary for bird conservation can occur. Local policy initiatives, public education and involvement of individuals will help to reconcile the needs of the human and non-human worlds and help mitigate the negative impact of our built environment on the natural environment.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Kelly Snow, Planner, Policy & Research, City Planning, City of Toronto 416-392-4787,



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