Annual Campaign 2014

Because we have the skill and because you support us

Le Nichoir conserves wild birds by offering compassionate care and public education

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November 2014
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?


Our Growing Environmental Education Program

Jo-AnnieLe 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.

Press Release

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.

Press Release

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.

Enhancing the Clarke Sydenham Nature Reserve

Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l'environnementLe 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.

Read the joint press release of Le Nichoir and the Foundation Hydro-Québec pour l’environnement

BPQ to sponsor Education Program

Bird Protection QuebecLe Nichoir’s Education Program is proud to be partnering with Bird Protection Quebec (BPQ) , Canada’s oldest conservation charity. For the next three years BPQ will be the exclusive sponsor of Le Nichoir’s new off-site educational program “Bird Adaptations: Custom-made for Habitat”.This partnership will increase Bird Protection Quebec’s impact in the field of education and will enable the delivery of Le Nichoir’s educational program to French and English school-age children in the greater Montreal Area.

Bird Adaptations - Custom-made for HabitatBird 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, taught by a wildlife biologist, is to promote awareness and understanding in children of the wild birds that surround them and the threats these birds face today.

Our Education program is growing and we are excited to be introducing a new program to schools this Fall. Visit our Facebook page, “Le Nichoir Education Services”, 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.

Press Release

Trapped by fishing line

Juvenile Ring-billed gullEarly in July, we received a call from Auberge Zen (an animal shelter in Laval) about a “seagull” found entangled in fishing line, suspended in mid-air by its feet. With the help of the local Laval fire department, the bird was eventually detangled, and transported to Le Nichoir.

The preliminary examination showed that the juvenile ring-billed gull had no external injuries and had not suffered any dislocation from being suspended by its’ feet, with both legs responding positively to reflex tests. However, at this point the young bird was underweight and was still lying on its stomach with both of its legs extended backwards. It was questionable whether the gull would be able to recover use of both legs. After being treated with anti-inflammatory medication, the gull was moved to the Quiet Room, where it could recover away from the public eye.

To our surprise the next day, the ring-billed gull was standing upright on both legs and had eaten all of its’ fish! The bird maintained a healthy appetite and was walking in its’ carrier putting weight on both legs equally, showing no signs of discomfort.

A week later, after a thorough re-evaluation, we moved the bird outside to one of our aquatic aviaries to monitor if it could cope walking in a larger area, and most importantly, if it could swim. There were three other ring-billed gulls of approximately the same age already in the aviary, and as soon as we opened the transport box, the gull jumped right out. It stretched and flapped out both of its wings, made small jumps across the aviary chattering to the other two birds the whole time. It eventually made its way to the pool, dove in head first, and paddled its way to the other side. In a few days, we noticed that the gull was flapping its’ wings. It was time for it to be released.

The ring-billed gull was released on July 21st at Vaudreuil-sur-le-lac, Quebec with the help of our volunteers.

Open House 2014 Saturday July 19

One of Le Nichoir’s most anticipated summer events, the annual Open House, will take place on Saturday, July 19. Hudson Mayor, Ed Prevost, joins Le Nichoir’s Executive Director, Susan Wylie, in inviting residents and out-of-towners alike to this fun and educational family day.

“Le Nichoir is a unique place,” says Mayor Prevost. “And the Town of Hudson is proud to be the home of this centre, which is so important to the care of injured birds.”

“We invite everyone to come out and take a look at this most fascinating facility, whose mission it is to conserve wild birds as part of our natural heritage.”

Susan Wylie says there are lots of surprises in store for Open House visitors.

“You can come and observe the wild birds that often come to your own backyard,” she says. “There are always many different species at the Centre, so you could see anything from a fledgling woodpecker calling for food to a Mallard duckling swimming in its pool.”

The event, which runs from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., is open to guests of all ages and will feature interactive activities for both children and adults. The Centre will be buzzing with activity: visitors can meet the team at Le Nichoir, practice their birding skills during a bird-watching tour led by naturalist Chris Cloutier, or take a walk in Nature Conservancy’s Clarke Sydenham Nature Reserve.

The Open House will also give you a chance to meet other environmentally minded organizations and individuals, including Chief Top Leaf, who will give a talk on owls.

The barbeque will be fired up from 11:00am to 1:30pm, with all proceeds benefitting the Centre.

Give a helping hand!

Volunteers at workEach summer, more than 1,500 wild birds requiring care are brought to Le Nichoir. Our volunteers play an important part in making this possible. We are always looking for people to help with general bird care, including food preparation, laundry, and cleaning indoor cages and outdoor aviaries. These duties are crucial to ensure a comfortable and sanitary environment for the birds’ recovery.

You can also contribute to the general maintenance of the Centre, or the transportation of birds as a volunteer driver.

If you are interested in being part of our team, contact us at 450 458 2809 or at

Le Nichoir’s doors spring open

Le NichoirAfter a long windy and cold winter, we are all anxious to enjoy the sunshine and longer spring days. The snow has finally melted at the Barn and Le Nichoir staff and volunteers have been busy spring-cleaning and preparing for what will inevitably be another busy season.

In 2013 the Centre received 1,523 wild birds for care, which was a slight increase from 2012. The most common bird admitted was the American Robin; we also had the luxury of caring for two young American Bitterns as well as a flock of duckling American Wigeons and a Black-billed Cuckoo, all of which were released.

SparrowNow the Centre has officially opened its doors full-time for the 2014 season and welcomes both friends and feathers as of May 19th. We encourage you to visit Le Nichoir and take a self-guided tour of the property anytime between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Mondays to Sundays. You’ll get to see the birds as well as our new songbird aviary!

Don’t forget to visit La Plume Verte – Le Nichoir’s new retail adventure. The name says it all: products for birds and bird lovers that are as “green” as we can find. The Centre has selected an eclectic mix of items, including high-tech decals to prevent window collisions (a major reason for bird admissions to Le Nichoir), squirrel-resistant feeders, handmade paper cards, and locally made bird-inspired jewellery. We’ve chosen products that are good for the birds, good for the environment and good for people. All the profits from La Plume Verte will help to sustain Le Nichoir’s operations. So come and shop with us!

Living with nests and nestlings

Canada GooseHave you recently discovered a new tenant on your porch light or BBQ? In your flower pot or shed? Some birds make nests in locations that are not considered ideal, because they create an inconvenience for us or a safety hazard for their young. Different species of birds make nests of different sizes, at different times of the year and with different materials. For instance, American Robins are notorious for building their nests in awkward locations, such as on fences, mail boxes and even on a wreath hung on someone’s door!

Usually, once a bird lays all of its eggs, the young will hatch within roughly 30 days. During this time it is best to avoid the nest area in order to reduce the chances of disturbing the parents, who run the risk of abandoning the nest. The nest should never be moved because there is a high risk that the parents will abandon the young.

Once the baby birds hatch, they will spend about the first 30 days of their lives in the nest. During this period the parents will feed the birds constantly. Baby birds grow very fast, as they intend to leave the nest as soon as possible. Young birds in a nest run a much greater risk of being attacked by a predator.

Young RobinAfter about four weeks the baby birds—now fledglings—will jump out of the nest and stay on the ground for another one to two weeks before they can fly. This is a crucial time for them to learn about their environment and develop their flight muscles. It is therefore important to stay clear of the area so that the parents can continue to feed the birds and the fledglings do not disperse out of fright.

In some cases, parent birds can come across as being aggressive when you approach the nest of babies or fledglings. They may fly in your direction or close to your head but will rarely touch you. This behaviour is nothing to be worried about and is only temporary, lasting two to three weeks. The parents are simply protecting their young. Still, it is best to avoid the area until the babies are gone. If this is not possible, then use an open umbrella while passing the area; this will scare the parents enough to stay away from you.

It is important to understand that removing the nest, eggs or young of migratory birds is illegal in Canada and that the parents are only protecting their young,” says Jo-Annie Gagnon, education coordinator at Le Nichoir. “These young birds are lucky to have such nurturing, protective parents and are more likely to survive in the wild because of it.

If you have any questions about birds’ nests or have found a nest that has fallen, please give Le Nichoir a call 450 458 2809. [Read more…]

Thank you Mon Ami

Mon AmiWe would like to thank Mon Ami Food and Accessories for their long-time support of Le Nichoir. The staff at the store has gone out of their way on many occasions to promote events and fundraising activities organized by the Centre.

In addition, the store has been generously offering nail clippings almost every Sunday for a $5 donation (per animal). All the money raised is donated to local animal welfare organizations including Le Nichoir.

“Mon Ami appreciates the efforts that animal rescue groups do and the many volunteers working to help animals in need. Mon Ami is proud to volunteer our time to help raise money to support these wonderful groups. Money raised goes towards Le Nichoir, Animatch and Kiko Dog Rescue” Chris LeRoyer, Mon Ami Food and Accessories owner.

To learn more about the nail clipping fundraiser visit the Mon Ami website at