Susan Phillips

posted in: Volunteer Profiles | 0
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Left to right: Richard Waters (rear), Ray Holland, Sue Phillips and Nick von Maltzahn free a Great Horned Owl caught on barbed wire at Burnt Lands Provincial Park. Photo by Aaron Hywarren.

 

Volunteer position: Volunteer Coordinator, Patroller & Driver

Safe Wings Ottawa volunteer since: March 2015

What are some of the activities you’ve done as a Safe Wings volunteer?
My first event was a pub trivia night in March of 2015 where I met a very enthusiastic and fun group of people.

I then attended an orientation session given by Anouk Hoedeman and a guided patrol by Cynthia Paquin, two of our founding members who continue to inspire me with their dedication.

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Great Horned Owl. Photo by Aaron Hywarren.

I went on a few patrols downtown [looking for birds that had collided with buildings], and then shifted my focus to Kanata, where I live. There are plenty of “problem buildings” in some of the high tech areas.

As the Volunteer Coordinator for Safe Wings, I keep track of the volunteer list, checking for new members who may have signed up online and acknowledging their interest in our group. I also coordinate volunteers for our various outreach activities: for example, the upcoming showing of the film The Messenger at the ByTowne Cinema.

What has been one of your most memorable experiences so far?
One of the most memorable experiences did not involve a building collision, but rather the rescue of a beautiful Great Horned Owl that was caught in a barbed wire fence in Almonte. Early one Saturday morning in May of last year, Anouk called to ask if I could get out to the Burnt Lands Provincial Park to help transport the owl to the Wild Bird Care Centre. I was able to find the birders who had located the owl and we carefully covered the bird with a jacket. Someone had a very substantial pair of wire cutters so we could remove the bird without having to untangle her wing from the wire. We then quickly placed her in a box and I carried it back to my car and then drove to the Wild Bird Care Centre. Although there were no broken bones, unfortunately they felt the damage to her wing was too great and were not able to save her.

What do you find most rewarding?
In spite of the fact that this is often a very sad and distressing activity, as we work towards increasing awareness of the problem, it is very satisfying to meet the public at various events and see how concerned and eager they are to take steps to mitigate the problem in their own lives.

Sandy Garland

posted in: Volunteer Profiles | 0

Volunteer position: Driver

Safe Wings Ottawa volunteer since: 2014

Winter Wren
Winter Wren in rescue cage

What are some of the activities you’ve done as a Safe Wings volunteer?
I’m lucky – I get to see the live ones. I drive rescued birds to the Wild Bird Care Centre (WBCC), where they are often nursed back to health.

I keep bins and boxes of various sizes in my car to hold the paper bags volunteers use for rescued birds. If the birds have been resting at Anouk’s place [like the wren in the photo], they are in wooden boxes, furnished with perches and soft bedding material. . . I drive carefully out Hunt Club Road, listening to the scratching noises coming from the back seat and expecting a bird to peck its way free and land on my head at any moment.

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Cecropia moth

At the WBCC, the amazing staff take the birds out of the boxes or bags matter of factly and with great expertise … I hand over details about their collisions and write down file numbers to take back to Anouk.

What has been one of your most memorable experiences so far?
One day, Anouk called to say she’d found an injured Cecropia moth and could I come and get it. I drove downtown and found the moth near the trunk of a container tree. We popped it into a bird bag and I drove it to the Fletcher Wildlife Garden where I released it in the Butterfly Meadow. It was great to open the bag and watch this huge moth (almost the size of a bird) flutter off to the nearest apple tree.

What do you find most rewarding?
I don’t usually ask about the fate of [the] injured birds, as many die despite the best efforts of [Safe Wings] and the WBCC team. But Anouk often tells me when one is released and that makes me feel pretty good.