As we launch into 2015, staff, volunteers and friends of Le Nichoir share a look back on 2014: new pens for aquatic birds, wildlife education without live animals, difficult decisions and much much more.
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One of the most difficult issues related to caring for wildlife is being able to provide appropriate housing that is suited to the needs of each species of animal. This is one reason why Le Nichoir chose to specialize in the care of songbirds and aquatic birds.
By doing this we are able to offer the birds better housing built to accommodate their distinctive needs and respect their natural history. For those of you who bird watch, think about all the different habitats you find birds in while observing them. Even within a single habitat you can come across different microhabitats. In a marsh, for example, a duck may be swimming and foraging in the open while a bittern will often be found hunting for prey among the dense reeds and grasses.
“It is our job as rehabilitators to try our best to mimic these environments as much as we can,” says Susan Wylie, Le Nichoir’s Executive Director.
Recently, the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation provided Le Nichoir with funding to purchase two portable wildlife aquatic pens. This generous donation will allow Le Nichoir to improve the quality of life and subsequent release rate of injured aquatic birds by giving them more appropriate and safe housing during their stay.
Aquatic birds spend their lives on water. While in care, they require pools to feed, maintain their muscle mass and waterproof their feathers. However, the Centre’s existing cement-based songbird aviaries were not designed to house aquatic birds – they are not ideal for birds that are adapted to be in water most of their lives.
The new wildlife pens will be used by a variety of species of birds that live predominantly on water. These include species such as grebes, herons, diving ducks, loons and bitterns, including the threatened Least Bittern, a species occasionally brought to Le Nichoir. In addition, each pen is equipped with a filter system and pump to remove and recycle the water.
The pens will allow aquatic birds to dive, swim and forage. They will also offer the public the opportunity to observe these birds in a more natural environment. And it will give us, the staff and volunteers, the chance to teach people about aquatic birds’ natural history and their unique adaptations to aquatic environments.
Because we have the skill and because you support us
Le Nichoir conserves wild birds by offering compassionate care and public education
Once a year we invite you to show your support for the work we do at Le Nichoir by participating in our Annual Campaign. Your generosity enables our team of wildlife biologists, students and volunteers to deliver on our mission of conserving wild birds.
Le Nichoir fulfills this mission by offering two programs: professional and compassionate care of injured and orphaned wild birds; and the development and delivery of public environmental education.
A Great Blue Heron arrived at Le Nichoir with its feet covered in tar. The tar was removed following a cleaning protocol for oiled birds. After a period of recuperation which also gave the bird time to regain some weight, the heron was released.
A juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was admitted with multiple abrasions and missing feathers following an attack by a dog. The wounds were cared for and the bird was released after an eight-week recovery period.
Did you know?
Le Nichoir continues to strive towards its goal of conserving wild birds through rehabilitation and education. The Centre has had a productive year moving forward with its education program and hiring its first full-time educator, Jo-Annie Gagnon. Jo-Annie, a wildlife biologist, is now offering our “Bird Adaptations: Custom-made for Habitat” program to elementary school children year round in their classrooms.
We are very fortunate to have Bird Protection Quebec (BPQ) help support the program. “As we head into our second year of delivering ‘Bird Adaptations’ we are proud to have BPQ , Canada’s oldest conservation charity, sponsoring it for the next three years,” said Wendy Dollinger, Le Nichoir board member.
Bird Adaptations is an interactive program that explores why Quebec birds have different beaks, feet and wings depending on their diet and habitat. The goal of our program is to promote awareness and understanding in children of the wild birds that surround them and the threats these birds face today.
This program is the first of many as we plan to roll out a new program every year. Coming this fall is “Avian CSI” in which children will become bird detectives and try to discover the reasons behind bird injuries from real situations at Le Nichoir. The program will teach children about the dangers wild birds have to face and introduce them to bird biology.
Education plays a critical role in Le Nichoir’s mission to conserve wild birds as part of our natural heritage. As our facility is located next to the beautiful Clarke Sydenham reserve owned by Nature Conservancy Canada, we have a unique opportunity to expand our education role. With funding from Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l’environnement and Fondation de la Faune du Quebec, we will be posting six interpretive panels throughout the trails in the reserve. Over 90 species of birds have been observed in the reserve, which also has a diversity of habitats. The panels will present information information about local birds, their habitats and the conservation of both.
Visit Le Nichoir’s education program Facebook page, for updates and everything related to our Education programs. This page also offers a great learning tool for the classroom called “Fun Fact Mondays”. Look for an interesting new fun fact every Monday.
Le Nichoir wild bird rehabilitation centre is proud to announce its collaboration with other organizations in a project to enhance the Clarke Sydenham nature reserve, located next to the centre. Financial contributions from the Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l’environnement and the Fondation de la Faune du Québec will help, among other things, to create interpretive panels that will be installed along the trails of the reserve. Nature Conservancy of Canada, which owns the land, approves of the project and will participate in it.
The project also includes the development of an on-site educational program for children. Inspired by our program currently available to schools and school groups, it will allow children to explore the different habitats and observe the birds. The panels will be incorporated into the program and will help teach children to find information independently.