Parryinkle, April 5, 2018
PHOTO BY JAMES PARRY
Weiyi Liu, Operations Coordinator of Le Nichoir Bird Conservation Centre, is all smiles for the camera as she shows off just about everything you are going to need for wild birds this spring available at the Centre’s boutique located at 637 Main Road, Hudson.
I don't want to ruffle your feathers unnecessarily dear readers, but here's a sensational scoop on the local real estate front. Seems that hundreds, if not thousands, of newcomers are flocking to our neck of the woods checking out potential property to acquire over the next few weeks in which to raise their new families before all the best homes are taken.
What's more, despite the fact that not one of them will be paying taxes of any kind in their respective community nor complaining about the abysmal state of the roads in Hudson, it is certain that they will be warmly welcomed. In many instances, provided with food on a daily basis, emergency medical care should they need it, and the freedom to enjoy some of the most beautiful natural habitat and gardens in all of Quebec!
A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME - Yup, it's spring and that time of year again, when our feathered friends from far and wide are checking out the neighbourhood in search of the best nesting sites in which to lay their eggs and raise their family before moving on. Either in branches, cavities in tree trunks, under the eaves, or, man-made - er, should that be person-made? - bird houses of every shape and size.
Actually, I learned this from someone who certainly knows a lot about birds and their habits. Namely, Montrealer Weiyi Liu, - pronounced Vee as in a vee of Canada Geese – Operations Coordinator at Hudson's Le Nichoir Wild Bird Conservation Centre who told me that chickadees and crows are some of the earliest home hunters even though they are with us all year round with gulls, Red-winged blackbirds, and grackles soon to follow.
“They are out looking for the best spots,” said Weiyi. “Close to protective shelter, nesting materials, potential food sources, sometimes fresh water, out of reach of predators such as cats and, depending upon the species, in a quiet spot far from noise and other disturbances.”
Speaking of which, I was fascinated to learn from Le Nichoir's Education Coordinator Jo-Annie Gagnon that for the past two years, the centre has rehabilitated about 1,800 injured and orphaned wild birds annually representing over 100 species arriving from over 150 municipalities in Quebec.
And as for those bird houses that you have perhaps neglected over the winter because you were away or they were simply inaccessible for whatever reason, both agree that now is the best time to clean them and prepare for the arrival of the newcomers to make them feel welcome and at home. Eggsciting times, don’t you think?
BLUE JAYS AND CARDINALS - Still on the bird beat - well, actually baseball but I needed the segue - a flock of Blue Jays flew in from Toronto for two days last week, joined by a conclave of Cardinals from St. Louis south of the border. To play two exhibition games at the Big O to the delight of some 50,000 'bird watchers' including Hudsonite Bill Young, a life-long baseball fan and a co-author of two books about the Expos who still has dreams of his beloved team that thrilled Montrealers from 1969 to 2004 possibly rising again.
Says Bill, “It really was baseball celebration time last week and there was lots to cheer about. A number of former Expos, long in tooth and round of belly but glorious none the less, showed up. Hall-of-Famer Tim Raines was awarded the 2018 Expos Legend Award, while Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., the 19-year-old son of Hall of Famer Vlad Sr., playing for the Blue Jays, brought 30,000 people to their feet.”
Adds Bill, “With two out in the ninth inning of a tied match, he clouted a walk-off, game-winning home run so reminiscent of the blows his daddy used to hit into the Big O’s left-field bleachers that the crowd gave him two standing ovations.” Ah, you gotta love it!
But there was also sorrow, he says. “Later in the week, Rusty Staub, baseball's Le Grand Orange, who played for the Expos from 1969 to 1971 and who was the club's anchor in those early years, passed away only days before he was to turn 74. He was our hero. He legitimized the team. And as we weep for him, we also weep for ourselves and for what those early years meant to us.”
Years that Bill has lovingly recaptured in his two best-selling books titled Remembering the Montreal Expos, and Ecstasy to Agony: the 1994 Montreal Expos: How the best team in baseball ended up in Washington ten years later. Copies of which are still available from ever-young Bill who can be reached at (450) 458-7349.
And that's a wrap!