It won’t officially open for a few weeks, but that hasn’t stopped those in need from using the new barn at Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre in Napanee.
It’s already paying dividends for a number of rescues, including some swans — among the first to be housed there.
Leah Birmingham, the assistant director at Sandy Pines, says the new barn is already making a difference.
“This makes it an easier transition when they go back to the wild because if we keep them indoors in temperatures of indoors, it’s a little bit of a false reality. Then they go out to the freezing cold temperatures and it’s harsh on them to adjust again,” she said.
WATCH: Injured swan and mate rushed to wildlife centre
The new barn includes five stalls, with swans currently in four of them.
The reason for the new building dates back to just over 14 months ago, when firefighters from Greater Napanee, Deseronto and Stone Mills were called in to respond to a blaze at the barn. No animals were lost but the barn was a write-off and there was no longer a place to house those in need, especially waterfowl.
The other half of the new barn will eventually be an aquatic centre. Birmingham says they hope it’ll be complete in the not too distant future.
“Eventually we’ll have large pools that birds can stay on all the time rather than having to be handled, and rather than them having to share tub time in our current water bird room, they’ll be able to just be on the water until they’re ready for release.”
WATCH: Bobcat released back into its habitat after being hit by a car
Birmingham says the barn rebuild wouldn’t have happened without the help and generosity of countless people.