We call them Le Nichoir’s “Fab Four”: Lynn Miller, Denise Paquette, Lise Sylvestre and Janette Fauque. These four bird-loving volunteer conservationists started providing care for injured birds in the late 80s and then went on to found Le Nichoir 25 years ago. In those earliest of days, Lynn was a student, and the other three had full-time jobs. Despite their commitments, they contributed to the bird rescue operations in every way they could, with Lynn as the acknowledged leader. Denise and Lise mostly took care of the birds, while Janette kept a close watch on the bank account, sounding a shrill alarm whenever funds ran low.
In the space of a few years, the Fab Four’s passion for birds grew, peaking the season they hosted 400 birds in Lynn’s house, using every available space. It was only when she postponed appendicitis surgery to first relocate the 40 birds “in residence” that Lynn decided to set up shop in Marnie Clarke’s barn at the entrance to Hudson’s Clarke Sydenham Nature Reserve. From there, operations continued to flourish and grow.
Fast forward to 2021: Lynn is now Dr. Lynn Miller, having obtained a PhD in Environmental Toxicology. She is back in her native New Zealand, working as the General Manager of New Zealand Bird Rescue. Since starting her career, wildlife rehabilitation has evolved into a recognized profession and an essential component of environmental stewardship. Lynn is a widely respected leader in the field.
Janette, while no longer active in day-to-day operations remains a loyal supporter, helping the Le Nichoir team in so many ways. Lise took a new position in the Eastern Townships and moved there; and Denise pursued her passion for painting, confident, as all four were, that Le Nichoir was in the capable hands of a great new team.
We spoke to Lynn recently, and looking back on the change in leadership, she said, “We all knew, for the health of the organisation, it needed to have new blood and ideas, and we were all so happy that we could move on to other things and celebrate the incredible successes of Le Nichoir over the years since. We are all still there in spirit, cheering Le Nichoir on with love and pride.”