Wild Wednesday: Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre rehabilitation dedicated to birds #WildWednesday

Wild Wednesday: Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre is the only rehabilitation Centre in the area dedicated exclusively to wild birds

Wild Wednesday: Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre is the only rehabilitation centre exclusively dedicated to wild birds

If you've found an injured or orphaned bird in the Ottawa region, this is the place that will take that bird under its wing. Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre in Ottawa, Ontario was founded in 1981 by the late Kathy Nihei when she successfully rehabilitated and released an injured Ruby-throated Hummingbird, who she named Pip. The Centre is a registered charitable organization funded primarily by public donations. It is the only rehabilitation Centre in the Ottawa Valley area exclusively dedicated to wild birds, with thousands of birds admitted every year. The next closest rehab Centre in Ontario is in Napanee.  

"I think I speak for the whole staff when I say that the best thing about the work we do is being able to give a wild bird a second chance at life and educate the public about ways to help and protect the birds we love," Patty McLaughlin, Education and Public Engagement Coordinator at the Center said in a correspondence. "I would also have to say on a slightly selfish side that our job is incredibly interesting, being able to work closely with so many different species."

The Centre rehabilitates and releases wild birds that are injured, ill, or orphaned 365 days of the year. They are also dedicated to educating the community, teaching them about safe handling techniques, bird intervention, and injury prevention. They believe that every living creature deserves compassion and respect. Even the smallest life is worth saving. That's how they got their start- a small act of kindness.

Wild Wednesday: Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre rehabilitation centre dedicated to birds

The educational support that the Centre offers the community is second to none, especially the presentations they provide for schools. They cater their content to different grades and age groups. If you can't enjoy one of their presentations, check out their online gallery of birds they have cared for. 

"Learning about different species and how we can better help them recover and return to the wild makes every day different," she said. The Centre has cared for a wide range of different bird species. Many avian species are what you would expect, but some of them might surprise you. 

"For a bird to arrive at the Centre it needs to be brought in by the caring public that found it. Therefore our most common species that we see are those that are around people, American Robins, Crows, Pigeons, Mallard Ducks"  said McLaughlin. 

"With that said, each year the Centre receives over 120 different species! We do see some rare species each year whether they are a  species that does not have a large population such as a Bald Eagle, Least Bittern, or Bobolink or are a bird that has for some reason gone off course. In our 30 year history, we have received some really surprising birds such as a Chilean Flamingo, Atlantic Puffin, and Bullock Oriole from out west." 

One of the most valuable community resources the Centre offers is extensive information about how to handle avian wildlife conflicts. Topics covered include everything from how to get ducklings out of your pool to how to get birds to stop flying into your windows. Having those resources online is really helpful right now during the pandemic when venturing into the public is less of an option.

Wild Wednesday: Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre is the only rehabilitation centre exclusively dedicated to wild birds

"Because of COVID-19 we have had to make the difficult decision to ask people not to bring donations," McLaughlin said. They are limiting in-person visitation to only bird drop-offs. "We have also had to ask our volunteers to not come in during this time, but there is more info online for people who wish to volunteer when things are safer." 

COVID-19 has affected the Centre in other unexpected ways too. They are busier than ever, and shopping has become difficult and more expensive.

"We have also seen a very large increase in the number of birds coming in this spring. We received over 700 in May and over 1000 in June. These are record numbers for us. Not to say that more birds are becoming injured but we think it is because more people are working from home, getting outside more, and have the time to bring them in," McLaughlin said. 

Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre is proof that one small act of kindness can change the world. It can lead to saving thousands of lives. To learn more about the lives they save, check out their Facebook page!

Please consider donating.  CLICK HERE to find out how you can make a DONATION to Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care CentreDonate online or purchase them an item off of their Amazon wishlist!

Wild Wednesday: Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre is the only rehabilitation centre exclusively dedicated to wild birds

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