Birds and Buildings — Safe Wings Ottawa

You may have heard about the wild turkey sprinting down Slater Street last year, but dozens of smaller and less visible birds pass unnoticed through Ottawa’s downtown core every single day. Various sparrows, thrushes, warblers, and woodpeckers, to name just a few, make their way through bustling downtown, invisible to busy commuters even after they fall on the sidewalk from colliding with a window. In Ottawa, at least 250,000 birds are estimated to be killed yearly by colliding with glass. 

Safe Wings Ottawa is a program of the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club which works to reduce bird mortality from window collisions through research, rescue, and education. Led by Safe Wings volunteer, Janette Niwa, we will explore a part of the downtown core and discuss building features common to many building types which make these particular structures a danger to birds. Janette will point out bird-friendly treatments and explain why some are successful, and some are not. Participants will learn why birds collide with windows, and about best practices and strategies they can employ to make their own home or workplace safer for these captivating creatures. 

Everyone has access to a window, and if we all made a little effort, together we could make a big change for the better to prevent one of the top human causes of bird mortality: window collisions!


Meet at the north entrance to City Hall (Marion Dewar Plaza, 110 Laurier Ave).  From City Hall, we will walk to the National Arts Centre, then head west along Queen St. to Kent, then up to the Bank of Canada on Wellington, where the walk will end. 

About the walk leader

Janette is a volunteer with Safe Wings Ottawa, helping monitor buildings for injured or dead birds, driving birds to rehab at Safe Wings or the Wild Bird Care Center, and helping with events. The daughter of a veterinarian and a bird-loving mother, she's a lifelong animal and nature lover, having planted trees in University and currently volunteering with a number of nature and animal organizations.

Learn more about Safe Wings at


Janette Niwa

Date:Sun May 5, 2019
Time:10:30 AM
Duration: 1 hour
Language: English
Start:City Hall, north entrance
End:Bank of Canada, \n 234 Wellington St
Distance:1.0 km

The walk will follow city sidewalks.

An unfortunate bird after it has collided with a window.
Volunteer to Marshal This Walk