Ecojustice Blog – Nature Posted on April 2, 2013 (updated: February 17, 2015)

What other lawyers think about our migratory birds’ legal precedent

Albert KoehlLawyer

Since Feb. 11, when we set a national legal precedent that will protect migratory birds from lethal collisions with the highly reflective windows of office buildings, several legal experts have analyzed the ruling. See below to find out what they’re saying:

Dianne Saxe of Environmental Law and Litigation authored “It is now an offence to kill birds with buildings.” Shaun Fluker is a University of Calgary professor and wrote, “Migratory Birds and the City,” at ABlawg.

The case, Podolsky vs. Cadillac Fairview, involved hundreds of birds, including at-risk species such as the Canada Warbler, pictured above, killed or injured at Cadillac Fairview’s north Toronto office complex during the 2010 spring and fall migrations.

The court found that light reflected from the Yonge Corporate Centre’s glass windows lured the birds to their injury or death. Migratory birds are confused by the illusion of safe havens like sky, trees and vegetation reflected in windows. Buildings with highly reflective windows, like those found at the Yonge Corporate Centre, are especially dangerous for birds.

Significantly, the court rejected arguments by Cadillac Fairview lawyers that the company could not be found responsible for causing the bird deaths because it was merely a passive building owner.

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