FES explores demise of songbirds through film, panel discussion

A film screening and panel discussion that examines the global demise of songbirds, presented by the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES), will take place at the Nat Taylor Cinema (Ross Building) on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 5:30pm.

The event, featuring the 90-minute documentary The Messenger, is presented in partnership with the James B. Love Lecture in Avian Conservation.

Akin to the disappearance of the honeybee or the melting of glaciers, the film argues that the global demise of songbirds signals an uncertain shift in an already fragile ecosystem and explores our deep-seated connection to birds while warning that the uncertain fate of songbirds might mirror our own.

Su Rynard’s wide-ranging and contemplative documentary moves from the northern reaches of the Boreal Forest to the base of Mount Ararat in Turkey to the urban streets of New York. It brings us face-to-face with a remarkable variety of human-made perils – including hunting, light pollution, high-rise collisions, pipelines, pesticides – that have caused the loss of migratory habits and devastated thrushes, warblers, orioles, tanagers, grosbeaks and many other airborne music-makers.

A panel discussion following the screening will feature:


• Bridget Stutchbury, York University biology professor and award winning author of “Silence of the Songbirds”and “The Bird Detective”among others whose research is featured in the film;

• Joanne Jackson, producer of The Messenger is an award-winning documentary and television producer whose credits include Hero Dogs of 9/11 (2011), The Big Wait (2010) and Long Haul Big Hearts (2007);

• Michael Mesure, executive director and co-founder of the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP),  has spearheaded efforts in Canada to preserve migrating birds from injurious and fatal collisions with man-made structures;

• Emily Rondel (MES 2011), the Toronto Projects Coordinator for Bird Studies Canada  and a member of the Toronto Field Ornithologists organization;

• Andres Jimenez (current MES student) a member of the  York Sustainable Enterprise Consultants (YSEC) who originates from  from Costa Rica, where many North American birds migrate to for the summer; and

• Paloma Plant, project coordinator and co-founder of FLAP moderates the panel, which will be followed by a Q&A.

The James B. Love Lecture in Avian Conservation is named after Love in recognition of his tremendous support for Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) and the University. In addition to his own contributions, Love has helped FES to secure multiple donations to the Las Nubes Project, including support for the Chair in Neotropical Conservation, the Lillian Meighen Wright Centre and the Fisher Fund.

To RSVP to this event, visit this link.