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OPG helps support campaign for a new Wild Bird Care Centre in Ottawa

Celebrating its 40th year since its inception, the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre has provided essential care to thousands of injured and ailing birds in eastern Ontario, many of which are endangered or threatened.

A black-bellied plover mends its wing at the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre.
A black-bellied plover mends its wing at the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre.

Now, the oldest rehabilitation centre in the Ottawa region has outgrown its current building and is planning to construct a sprawling new facility to give the birds in its care more room to spread their wings.

As part of OPG’s efforts to support biodiversity across Ontario, especially at its site communities, the company is supporting the campaign for the new wild bird rehabilitation and education centre. Through its Corporate Citizenship Program, OPG is providing $10,000 to the cause.

Funded primarily through donations received from the public, the centre is depending on individuals and companies to reach its fundraising campaign goal of $1.7 million for the new centre.

“Our current building can’t be expanded or renovated, and adding badly needed outdoor aviaries is not an option,” said Juliette Marczuk, the centre’s chair. “As the city grows, our services will be in more demand than ever. To help save more birds' lives now and in the future, a new facility is desperately needed.”

A rendition of the new Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre.
A rendition of the new Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre.

The new facility will be built on 17-plus acres of rural land in Ottawa’s west end and will feature more than 6,300 square feet of indoor space and more than 3,000 square feet of outdoor aviaries. It will provide quiet isolated spaces for recovering birds. Meanwhile, the current location in Nepean, Ont., will still be open while the new facility is being built.

With more than $1.1 million raised so far, Marczuk says she is confident the fundraising goal will be met. And while COVID-19 has delayed progress on construction, the new centre is still set to be completed by the end of 2021.

“We certainly appreciate OPG’s major support,” Marczuk said. “As one of our first corporate donations, it is our hope that this will inspire other corporations to step up, so that together, we can save more birds’ lives.”

Last year, the centre helped treat 4,300 wild birds, a record for the charitable organization. This was in part due to the pandemic and more people heading outdoors to do more bird-watching.

This young peregrine falcon was found with an injured wing at OPG's R.H. Saunders GS in 2019.
This young peregrine falcon was found with an injured wing at OPG's R.H. Saunders GS in 2019.

The centre treats more than 120 different species of birds in any given year. From the smallest hummingbird to the largest raptor, no wild bird is ever turned away, Marczuk said. “Every bird's life matters.”

In the past, OPG has brought injured birds found at its sites to the centre for much-needed care and attention.

In 2019, a young peregrine falcon was found with a broken wing at OPG’s R.H. Saunders Generating Station in Cornwall. The bird was delivered to the centre, which cared for the falcon before transferring it to an owl care centre in Niagara for further rehab.

Last March, the young falcon was released in Renfrew having fully recovered and learned to fly again.