Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

The wild bird care centre: A bird’s-eye view

by Cheryl Morris

On Thursday, September 17, 2015, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will begin a new season of lectures relating to the theme “Naturally Special Places”.  All talks will be held in the Social Hall of Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte Ontario beginning at 7:30 pm.

Photo 2 Eastern Screech owlEastern Screech Owl, avian patient at the Wild Bird Care Centre. Photo by Patty McLaughlin

Guest speaker for the evening will be Patty McLaughlin. Patty is well-known to many in the area as the Program Leader of the MVFN Young Naturalists. Patty holds a B.Sc. in Zoology as well as a Master of Science from Carleton University. In 2013, Patty received The Elizabeth Le Geyt Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to public awareness and care for wild birds.

Patty will introduce us to a very special place in nature, The Wild Bird Care Centre  located on Moody Drive in Nepean, just west of Ottawa. Patty is a full-time staff member of the Centre. She has entitled her talk “Sparrows, Warblers, and Hawks, OH MY! Taking a ‘Peep’ at the Wild Bird Care Centre”. The Wild Bird Care Centre was established in 1981 by the late Kathy Nihei. It was incorporated in 1991 as the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre and has operated as the Wild Bird Care Centre at the Stony Swamp Conservation Area location since 1992. It is the only place in the Ottawa Valley which is dedicated to the care, treatment, and release of sick, injured and orphaned wild birds. The staff of the centre care for over 2300 wild birds annually.

Throughout McLaughlin’s presentation, we will learn more about the Centre’s history, daily operations, and hear stories about the most common and also some unusual patients!  Patty will focus her talk around the most difficult, yet memorable birds, the Raptors. In Patty’s own words, “You may think its a thrill to spot one in the wild and catch a glimpse of their power and speed but I will tell you what it is like to work with them up close. I will describe their typical personalities, tricks we use to keep them comfortable while in captivity, some very neat facts about Raptors, as well as miraculous recoveries—I have lots to share!” Patty hopes to be accompanied for her presentation by “her usual stuffed suspects” as well as “Indy”, “the non-stuffed, defiantly living American Kestrel”.

Please join MVFN for this lively, informative, and inspiring presentation. Refreshments and discussion will follow the talk. There is a non-member fee of $5. For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair, Gretta Bradley at glbradley@icloud .com.