Question from June in Hudson, QC

How do you run a rehab centre? How much funding does the government provide?

The short answers – on a wing and a prayer and, very little.

I have been asked this question so many times, especially the question about funding sources and the assumption we get government grants. So, let me give you a peek into the workings of a rehab centre, specifically Le Nichoir. So what do you do when you find a bird in need of attention? Enter Le Nichoir. The phone call that you make to the centre will hopefully be answered immediately, unless the staff are busy as baby birds can be very demanding patients. If the bird needs human help, you will be invited to bring it to Le Nichoir. On admission, we try to gather as much information as possible, especially since the centre is obliged to submit an annual report to both the Provincial and Federal governments. To be allowed the privilege of doing rehabilitation, Le Nichoir pays an annual fee to the Provincial government. Ironically, Provincial government officials refer calls to the centre but provide no financial help. The Federal government has made a small student grant available annually. Generally, this represents six weeks of wages at the minimum salary with the remainder made up from the centre’s budget.
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Question from Denis in Saint-Clet, QC

The following questions and answers were first published in the Hudson/Saint-Lazare Gazette and are reprinted here with permission.

We have had a heron hunting for frogs in the drain in front of our place for the past few days. Last year we had a similar situation and unfortunately we eventually found the bird dead beside the road. What are my options should this bird need help?

In July and August young herons are busy leaving the nest and trying to make their own way in the world. In doing so, they face many trials, not the least of which is learning to hunt. So this is a very stressful time for these young birds. While in the nest young herons are fed fish by their devoted parents. You have to be devoted to barf up partially digested fish to youngsters armed with sharp beaks and a poor aim! But well fed they are and so much so that they are often heavier than their parents when they leave the nest.
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Open House 2010

A record number of people attended the Open House and donor BBQ July 24th. Le Nichoir’s volunteers and staff were delighted with the outcome of this year’s Open House. More than 200 adults and 145 children attended the event. (July 2010)

Click for Press Release

Day 8

Leaving was actually very hard to do. On the way out of the marina, I spotted tri-colored herons feeding along the side of the road, the alligators suspended in water, cypress trees and extraordinary vegetation, partially submerged cars and trucks from Katrina. Then the very warm thanks from everyone I met. Thank you for caring to come here and help, I heard it time and time again.  Yes it was hard to leave, except when I got out of the air conditioned car. Then I was ready for home and open windows and my guys. But I will be going back.

Day Six – Lynn Miller’s Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog

Everyone was taking off except me. I had been invited to stay with a forensic psychiatrist who was volunteering at Fort Jackson, so I packed my gear and headed out to the rehab station. I spent the day working with Dr Erica Miller from Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, admitting birds,

sweeping floors, restocking coolers, and generally helping out where ever I could. I learned one heckuva lot! And sweated a lot!

The team there is outstanding. Everyone made me feel so welcome and shared with me their trials and triumphs. I also so saw first hand how interesting being in the bayou could be. I went out the back to for some reason and saw a rather large snake trying to get through the chicken mesh fence. It had obviously eaten and its full belly would not pass through the fence. I called for my colleagues to come and look – this was pretty exciting stuff – and was told it was a non-venomous water snake. Since there are many venomous snakes around, everyone is understandable cautious. I can tell you it makes for a cautious approach to and use of the port-a-potties. The temperature was still over 100F with the humidity.