Gardiner Museum PiGEON Excursion paracord-string workshop to help save birds

Museum Takes Us on the Flight Path of Birds Through Bloor-Yorkville Culture Corridor

The flight path of an urban city centre is a deadly obstacle course for migratory birds.

Michael Mesure of FLAP Canada at the Gardiner Museum PiGEON Excursion event to help save birds
Michael Mesure, director of FLAP Canada, speaking on the safeguarding measures taken by Manulife. Photo by Rea McNamara.

As urban centres become more congested with skyscrapers, we see a rise in bird deaths, from one of the leading causes of their demise in North America, experts say – collision into human-built structures.

Millions of migratory birds die each year from collision into lit towers  at night as well as during the daytime and at an even greater rate.

Gardiner Museum is known for its vast collection of ceramic art rather than for environmental action, but recently they teamed up with the experimental art collective Friends of Ogden Park and Fatal Light Awareness Program Canada to bring attention to the plight of birds. They called it the PiGEON Psycho-Geographic-ExcursiON, a one-day, game-themed, guided tour through the Bloor St. Culture Corridor, through Yorkville, passing by sites like the Manulife Centre and Philosophers’ Walk on April 29.


The birds that die are donated to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) for research and education. Read the story and see the spectacular fast motion video of the ROM’s annual bird layout. It’s sad to see but it draws attention to the plight of birds during the spring and fall migration.


The PiGEON tour turns ‘birding’ or birdwatching from a spectator sport into a playful, interactive excursion in the city, followed by a “DIY paracord-string crafting’ session. The paracord is used to prevent birds from crashing into windows.

This is a way for people to influence their environment, and the environment of another species.

Imagine birds flying through a maze made mostly out of glass. This map by FLAP Canada shows a greater concentration of incidents of birds crashing into walls and windows of buildings growing higher as you get closer to the urban centre of Toronto, where there are more buildings than the rest of the region.

The PiGEON Psycho-Geographic-ExcursiON was part of the exhibition Janet Macpherson: A Canadian Bestiary, which touches upon migratory birds and how their migration patterns have been impacted by climate change and human interference.

Dawn McGeough and Dustin Wilson of artist collective Friends of Ogden Park leading a DIY paracord-string crafting demonstration.
Dawn McGeough and Dustin Wilson of artist collective Friends of Ogden Park. Photo by Rea McNamara.
Gardiner Museum PiGEON Excursion and workshop to help save birds
DIY paracord-string crafting workshop.

Cherryl Bird – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Twitter @ladycbird | Instagram @cherrylbird

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