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Le Nichoir bird sanctuary is not just for the birds

le nichoir1Since 1996, Le Nichoir, Canada’s largest bird conservation and rehabilitation centre, has been providing care to injured and orphaned birds before releasing them into their natural environment.

Their mission includes sensitizing children and the public through their educational programs. But every fall, as the pipes froze in the 1837 barn they operated from, the staff and birds had to find alternative accommodations.

As part of the organization’s new Wild Bird Conservation Centre project, launched in 2013 with the construction of a multi-unit aviary, a new facility is being built that will allow Le Nichoir to fulfill its mission year-round. The new main building will be completed in time for the organization’s 20th birthday.

“We’re excited about it,” says Susan Wylie, the centre’s director. “In the summers we had an open door policy in the afternoon, but now people will be able to visit anytime.”

More than 1,500 birds representing over 106 species are cared for annually, Wylie says.

“The number one reason for injury is window collisions, and the second is pet attacks, mostly by cats.”

Last year, the centre expanded its educational activities. “We have a full-time educator, wildlife biologist Joanie Gagnon who offers programs to elementary schools.”

nichoir birdie unnamed

Visitors to Le Nichoir will find new interpretive panels on the trails describing the different local birds they might see in the area, their habitats and the conservation efforts being made on their behalf.

Increasingly songbird and insectivore birds are being threatened, Wylie says.

“Their numbers are really plummeting.”

This is significant, as the dangers wild birds face reflect changes in the environment that also adversely affect human beings.

She advises those who use bird feeders, to continue feeding year-round. “The most important thing is to clean your feeders every two weeks to prevent contamination.”

To learn more about Le Nichoir, visit lenichoir.org or call 450-458-2809.

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