Warm weather promises more bird admissions

We’re expecting a very busy year! Le Nichoir’s bird care season typically begins in May. You can imagine our surprise when we realized that the Centre admitted birds on a regular basis throughout the whole of 2020. Since January 2021, our team has cared for 60% more birds than during the same period in previous years. If this is any sign of what’s to come, we expect to be kept on our toes this summer.

Luckily, Le Nichoir has added a new full-time member to the team. Emily Fancelli has joined us as our new Administrative Coordinator. Studying Administration at Concordia, she brings fresh ideas and new skill sets. We warmly welcome Emily to the Le Nichoir team and hope you will have the opportunity to meet her.

Due to the pandemic, Le Nichoir has been unable to accept visitors. We miss you! Weiyi Liu, our Bird care Coordinator, has organized a virtual behind-the-scenes tour for Saturday, June 5. This bilingual tour will last up to an hour and will cover the entire operations of Le Nichoir (indoors and out). Registration is required. You can register here.

To better keep in touch with our community, our volunteers and staff produce regular communications about Le Nichoir’s activities. We have created a survey to collect feedback on what information is most important to you and what content you would like to read in the future. Please take the time to let us know your thoughts by completing the survey here.

As we continue to celebrate our 25th anniversary, please visit our website and social media pages (Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn) for more information on our upcoming Festival of Birds and Nature (August), our golf tournament (September 27th) and more!

Don’t forget to reserve your foursome

Please join us on September 27, 2021 to celebrate Le Nichoir’s 25-year commitment to wild birds at Le Birdie, a very special, fun-filled golf tournament. You and your friends will play the beautiful Whitlock Golf and Country Club course and enjoy delicious food while on the course prepared by members of Hudson à Table. Our Honourary Tournament Chair is Tom Whelan, co-host of the morning show on Hudson’s own radio station, Lite 106.7, so bring your sense of humour along with your clubs and join the party!

The Barnyard Years – Part 1

When Le Nichoir founder, Lynn Miller, and her team swung open the doors of Marnie Clarke’s barn for the first time, it must have been quite a shock. The year was 1996, and decades of abandonment had taken a heavy toll on the structure. The floor could not be seen, it was buried under rotting hay, in some places knee deep! The farm animals were long gone but the barn was inhabited by a host of furry creatures and even a few garter snakes.

Undaunted, the crew set to work on a major clean up aided by a local Boy Scout troop. They removed wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of hay for composting and lit bonfires to get rid of other debris. Work then began inside the barn, still with volunteer labour, carving out a workable space to receive and treat wild bird patients. New partitioning created an admissions area, a clinic and an indoor aviary that was secure enough to prevent the raccoons from eating the patients when the staff had gone home for the night. Over the following years, further improvements were made to the barn and outside aviaries were added to increase capacity and improve rehab services for the birds.

While the challenges in the barnyard were many, there were some natural advantages to the site. A good example was a large manure pile conveniently located right beside the back door. Renamed the worm pit, it provided an endless supply of food for hungry insectivores, and a creek flowing through the property was used to hold fish bait buckets full of live minnows to feed aquatic birds.

As word of the good works gradually spread, fundraising became easier. “For The Birds” — a dinner auction started in the late nineties and later renamed “A Taste of Hudson” — was an instant success and became Le Nichoir’s main fundraising event until it was suspended in 2020 due to the COVID 19 pandemic. But, as Lynn Miller tells it, the most memorable donation occurred in the fall of 1999 in the form of a $5,000 grant from a foundation. The staff celebrated by immediately applying the funds to a septic system servicing an enclosed bathroom with a flush toilet!

Education Update

It has been a few months since Le Nichoir started offering its programs and seminars online. Despite the original uncertainty of moving to a virtual platform, we are happy to report that so far they have been well received. This is great news for the Centre, as it will allow us to offer education in alternative formats to remote groups and students. Now that the weather is better, we can also offer our programs in person outside, as the pandemic situation allows.

Another great development in our education program is that we have a new version of our Avian Detectives program, tailored to Cycle 3 students. Similar to our original program, which is still available for Cycle 2 students, this version is more suited for older students. Most importantly, it now offers an associated research and engineering project that classes can do before or after the program. The development of this new version of the Avian Detective program and its associated project was supported by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

To learn more or to book a virtual program or seminar, contact us at education@lenichoir.org or 450-458-2809 ext. 3.

White-breasted Nuthatch

This White-breasted Nuthatch was found outside a window, stunned and barely moving on April 5th. The person who found the bird noticed some blood on the bird’s face and reacted quickly, bringing the bird directly to Le Nichoir.

Once at the Centre, the bird had shallow breathing and was lethargic. After a quick basic exam not to cause the bird more stress, our team assessed that the Nuthatch was slightly dehydrated, had an eye injury, and one ear clogged with dried blood. The bird was provided fluids for rehydration and placed on oxygen. As the bird’s condition became more stable, our team provided medication and eye drops and began cleaning out the dried blood from its ear. After a few days, the Nuthatch began to feel better. It regained its balance and began moving around its cage. Its injured eye showed signs of healing. Within two weeks, the bird was moving and flying well enough in its cage to be moved into one of the outdoor aviaries. There it will continue to rebuild its flight muscles before being released.