1st Annual Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Walk
September 4 - October 12, 2020
Thank you to our generous supporters, who helped us raise close to $37,000!!!
Covid-19 has had a profound effect on the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre. It has impacted our operations and our ability to raise funds. We have admitted a record number of birds this year too! The upcoming fall migration is expected to bring with it another large influx of wild birds that will not recover in time to resume their migration. Instead, they will need to spend the winter with us.
Many birds admitted for treatment are listed as species currently at risk in Ontario, like this Red-headed Woodpecker that has just been listed as endangered. “Red” came in with an old sternum fracture and had poor strength in his legs due to a spinal injury. The Centre was his last hope for survival. Red was given medical treatment, a place to recuperate, and was released successfully in the area it was found. Red’s story is just one of thousands here at the Centre.
To cover the ongoing costs of medical care, food and shelter, we needed your help to raise $25,000 by October 12th.
The overwhelming response from donors helped us surpass our target!!!
Our Top Donors to the Wild Bird Walk
Ottawa Valley residents care for wild birds and are generous, too. That’s why the very first Wild Bird Walk was able to quickly raise almost $37,000 to help fund critical treatment, rehabilitation and release programs at our facility on Moodie Drive.
Several of the individuals who qualified as top donor prefer to remain anonymous, but three have agreed to explain why they contributed to the campaign. Not surprisingly, they all share a love for wildlife, especially wild birds, and other parts of their respective stories are similar.
When he retired from the federal public service more than five years ago, Tom looked for opportunities to volunteer. Fortunately, the Centre has been a beneficiary ever since because he donates both money and time.
“I was always interested in animals but I knew nothing about wild birds,” Tom recollects. “But after reading and learning about them, I became fascinated and also concerned for their welfare. That’s what led me to volunteer at the Centre.” Within a year, he was working in our raptor room, where large birds of prey recuperate before being returned to the wild.
Tom also volunteers at several other organizations, including Safe Wings, the Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, several cat rescue operations and one dedicated to horses. For Safe Wings, he transports orphaned, sick or injured wild birds to us so that we can provide treatment, including medical care, and rehabilitation.
So why a special contribution to the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Walk? Despite his many animal welfare activities, wild birds remain a priority for Tom. “It’s an extraordinary experience to work with them,” he says. “And the Centre is an incredible place.”
Dana still remembers when, as a young girl, she first accompanied her mother bringing an injured bird to the home of Kathy Nihei, founder of the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre. “That was long before you had a shelter,” Dana recalls. “Kathy’s house was it.”
There were more trips like that over Dana’s formative years, and those early experiences instilled in her a love for wild birds and, later in life, a determination to help ensure that the we have the operational resources the Centre needs.
For these reasons, Dana keeps a “bird box” in her car. It’s an old shoe box, actually, with perforated holes, but quite handy for whenever she comes across a wild bird in distress and brings it to our facility on Moodie Drive.
“It’s amazing what you spot out there if you’re alert,” says Dana. “I recently saw a sea gull being attacked by crows in Westboro and it was badly wounded. It was too big for my bird box, but I managed to rescue it with a towel and take it to the Centre. And, as I do each time, I made a donation.”
Dana’s additional contribution to our Wild Bird Walk was motivated by news that we were short of our goal. “My husband and I are very concerned about the viability of small business and nonprofit organizations during this pandemic,” she explains. “We believe that we have to help out if we can when times are tough.”
Dana’s support is ongoing. Twenty years ago, she established a fund at the Ottawa Community Foundation in memory of her mother. She also directed that part of the interest from that endowment be earmarked for the Centre.
Orest, a software developer with an international clientele, is another top donor who traces his connection to the Centre back to when it operated out of Kathy Nihei’s house. “I was always interested in the preservation of wildlife, he explains. “But I had never even heard of the organization until we rescued an injured bird in the early 1980’s and had to figure out what to do with it. That led us to Kathy’s basement.”
It was a fateful meeting because Orest, ever since then, has been one of the Centre’s most loyal supporters. A birdwatcher who goes on nature hikes armed with a camera, he is concerned about the implications of some features of modern society for wildlife in general but birds in particular.
“Think of what we do that affects the birds,” he points out. “Tall buildings, windows everywhere, roaming cats, moving cars all over the place. Human-related activities result in collisions, injuries, orphans and deaths. I support the Centre because it’s one way to counter the terrible impact that people have on wildlife. We have a duty to help and give back to nature.”
Orest does more than give money. Often, he volunteers to transport rescued birds between rehabilitation centres in Ontario or Quebec for specialized treatment or other reasons. Last year, he drove from Ottawa to Cornwall with a once-injured Raven that recovered at the Centre and personally released it in the very area where it had been rescued.
“That was a real thrill,” says Orest. “A bird was found, restored to health and returned to the wild. The Centre aims to save birds one life at a time, and I find it very rewarding to help achieve that mission.”
I want to personally thank everyone for their generosity and also our sponsors:
|1500 Bank St., Ottawa||420 Hazeldean Rd., Unit 11, Kanata|
|Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop (Ottawa)||Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop (Kanata)|
Juliette Marczuk, Chair
Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre