About Us

About Us

The Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre is the only rehabilitation centre in the Ottawa region exclusively dedicated to wild birds. The Centre is primarily provided through donations received from the public and private foundations.

"Conservation begins with one small act of kindness, the saving of one life", says Juliette Marczuk, Chair. The Centre plays an important role in supporting conservation by providing care to the thousands of birds admitted each year, many of which are endangered or threatened. Each life saved and released is a small victory for its species and the environment.

Birds are brought in by the caring individuals who find them. Open 365 days a year, the dedicated staff, volunteers and Board members make this life-saving work possible.

The Centre is committed to educating the public about wild birds and the issues that face them through off-site interactive presentations and classroom events.

Our mission is to assess, treat, and rehabilitate injured, ill, or orphaned wild birds for the purpose of releasing them back into their natural habitat. We also provide educational information, services and presentations about wild birds, their habitats and conservation.

We believe:

  • Every living creature deserves our compassion and respect.
  • Conservation begins with one small act of kindness, the saving of one life.
  • Each and every individual bird's life matters.

How We Started

Kathy Nihei The late Kathy Nihei founded The Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre in 1981, when she successfully rehabilitated, over-wintered and released an injured Ruby-throated Hummingbird named Pip. This was the beginning of a legacy reflecting proudly on our entire community was built. A single mother at the time, Kathy saw a need in her community for bird rehabilitation and took it upon herself to fill it, making her one of those rare people who mix an equal amount of compassion with determination and strength of will. She continued to rehabilitate wild birds in her home until a larger location was needed.

The Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre was incorporated in 1991 and began to operate as the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre at the Stony Swamp Conservation Area location shortly thereafter. Kathy continued to work with birds until she passed away in 2009. She is fondly remembered and missed by all. She was a pillar in the community.

Plans were made to build a new Centre in 2020, but were delayed due to Covid-19 related issues. Since the approval and permit processes will take additional time and the old facility was no longer feasible to maintain, the Centre relocated to a temporary location to better accommodate the increasing number of birds. Construction of the new facility will begin as soon as City approvals and permits are obtained.

Our Future

Between the spring of 2020 and 2021, the Centre has made significant changes that will greatly benefit the birds and bird conservation. To prepare for future growth and new challenges, the Centre welcomed Sandra Sawers as Executive Director in March of 2021. Sandra holds a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in biology and a Master's degree in Philanthropy and Non-profit Leadership, and has held multiple leadership roles as a non-profit sector professional before coming to the Centre.

Sandra Sawers and our Board Chair, Juliette Marczuk, are both members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, implementing professoinal fundraising best practices and standards, such as outlined in the Association of Fundraising Professionals' Donor Bill of Rights'


The Centre is a Canadian registered charity and is licensed under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, and federal Migratory Bird Regulations. Our permits allow us to care for various bird species, including those protected under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997, and federal Migratory Bird Regulations. The Centre is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.

Executive Director

Sandra Sawers, MPNL, BScH
Executive Director

Board Directors

View our strategic plan
Juliette Marczuk
Ted Yuzyk
Susan Phillips
Jeff Rowsell
Robert Burns
Eric Garrison
Murray Kronick
Christina Zeigler