Susan Phillips

posted in: Volunteer Profiles | 0
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.

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.