This post is part of a series acknowledging our amazing volunteers and providing a behind-the-scenes look at what we do. See more volunteer profiles.
How did you first get involved with Safe Wings Ottawa? I am an avid birder and a member of the Ottawa Field Naturalists‘ Club, which is where I first heard about Safe Wings. I started out as a volunteer driver of injured birds to the Wild Bird Care Centre. I was off work at the time, so I had a more flexible schedule and wanted to help out. Then I took the training to become a patroller.
What are some activities you’ve done as a Safe Wings volunteer? I started working downtown a couple of years ago, and one day I ran into Anouk outside my building. It turns out that I work in one of the worst buildings in downtown Ottawa for collisions. So I started patrolling there for dead or injured birds. I am currently working with a team of employees to try to convince the building management to install a deterrent on the reflective glass.
What has been one of your most memorable experiences so far? My most memorable experience so far was rescuing a stunned hummingbird outside my building downtown. It was like a tiny jewel on the pavement. It was so out of place! Also, finding a dead Chimney Swift and a Pileated Woodpecker downtown was surprising.
Why do you volunteer with Safe Wings? I love birds. They bring me so much joy, but I feel both sad and angry when I hold the dead ones that have collided with a building. It seems so unnecessary. When so many songbird populations are already declining, I feel like my work with Safe Wings can make a difference.
What do you find most rewarding? The most rewarding experience for me is when I can influence changes that will prevent birds from colliding with buildings in the first place. For example, I was very pleased that after I contacted Gatineau Park regarding one of its new cabins with large windows, they installed a bird-friendly window pattern on the glass.
Want to learn more about volunteer opportunities with Safe Wings Ottawa? Visit our volunteer page.