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“Big on Birds: Dr. Emily McKinnon to Speak at ‘Birds Vs. Windows’ Outreach Event”

May 14, 2018 — 

Spring has finally arrived in Manitoba, and with it the cheerful sound of birdsong that signals the end of another long winter. Unfortunately, another far less pleasant sound accompanies this time of year: that of birds hitting windows. Fatal window collisions are one of the biggest killers of small migratory birds here in Canada. In fact, they are estimated to kill over 10 million birds in this country every year. The only thing more lethal to our tiny feathered friends are cats, both domestic and feral. 

“Birds vs. Windows” is being presented in order to educate the public about the devastating impact of window collisions on bird populations, as well as how to prevent them and what to do with injured birds. Hosted by the STEAM UManitoba and the Department of Biological Sciences, in conjunction with Access & Aboriginal Focus Programs, this outreach event is part of NSERC’s Science Odyssey.

What: Birds vs. Windows
Where:  Louis Riel Library
When: Tuesday, May 15 from 6:30pm to 8pm.

Asked for her thoughts , it’s not hard to tell that guest speaker Dr. Emily McKinnon, Science Education Specialist with Access & Aboriginal Focus Programs is thoroughly engaged with her topic. She waxes lyrical about songbirds with ease.

“Migratory songbirds are some of the most loved birds on the planet – these are the amazing birds that show up here in Manitoba in spring and fill the air with their song and light up our trees with their beautiful colours. The American Robin is a familiar example, but here in Manitoba we also have many species of sparrows, warblers, orioles, etc. Some might recognize the White-throated Sparrow, which breeds in boreal forests, and sings ‘Oh Sweet Canada Canada Canada!’”

McKinnon points out that it’s definitely not just high-rise buildings that are part of the problem for migratory songbirds.

“The overall mortality [rate] is actually much higher for collisions with windows of homes and low-rise buildings – primarily because the landscape is so full of these types of buildings, and high rises are typical concentrated in just a few city centres.” 

The evening will be a fun and informative event for adults and teens, with an opportunity to craft a “bird saver” that will hang outside windows. Since space is limited, attendees are asked to register by going to the following Winnipeg Public Library link:, or by calling 204-986-4573.









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