Monday , 11 December 2017

Dr. Amanda Glew: Goodbye to the Birds in the Barn

Goodbye to the birds in the barn  – by Dr. Amanda Glew 

This will be the last year that I will awake to a “caw” while downstairs in my tackroom. This will be the last year that I will see a huge wild turkey being brought upstairs to be treated for a broken wing. This will be the last year that I will be called up to take a look at a goose for an opinion about its lungs.

Every October the pipes freeze in Le Nichoir’s old barn and the birds, staff and volunteers scramble to find winter quarters.  Up until 2 winters ago this would mean a move to a board member’s basement. I can attest that the smell of birds can be disconcerting for those not accustomed to it. I would not have wanted them in the home.

Two winters ago, I had been refused to renovate an upstairs apartment for my barn – so I had an empty space. “They can move into my barn” I said. A deal was struck, with the rent covering the heating costs (birds need it at 23-25 celcius- much warmer than I am accustomed to!).  So in October they moved in, in May they return to the old Clarke barn – the original site of this grassroots organization which started over 20 years ago, with my friend and biologist Lynn Miller saying “no one cares about the little Dickie birds Amanda. We need to help them.”

Le Nichoir is about to begin construction of a new fully winterized facility, which means no more need for the annual move to winter quarters.  For a small charitable organization – the Nichoir is one of my favorite animal charities, they do a remarkable job. They care for over 1500 birds per year. They provide an active education program to teach children to appreciate wildlife and the environment. They have an international reputation for rehabilitating rare and difficult to raise song birds – most notably chimney swifts and other insectivorous birds.

Le Nichoir cares for over 1500 birds per year.
Le Nichoir cares for over 1500 birds per year.

Birds are so much a part of our spring and summers – just listen outside to all the sounds. I am constantly amazed that such small animals can make such a large sound. One of the reasons that these birds get hurt is because of cats. I am an advocate of outdoor cats, so I guess I can feel a little better by supporting and helping these birds who are harmed because of them, as well as our polluted environment.

Either way, if you appreciate the song of a bird – find it in yourself to donate a little to the new center.  They have different levels of donations – I am a heron. What would you like to be? Go to to find out how you can help- and let’s ensure they are not back at my barn this winter!!!! They can’t be – I finally got permission to renovate…..


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