One Life making a difference in the world ~ A Celebration of Life to honour Maj, founder of the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS).


Last Wednesday, on November 25th in Courtenay, we attended a Celebration of Life to honour Maj Birch, a remarkable woman who in 1995, founded the Mountainare Avian Rescue Society (MARS).

Maj rescued and cared for over 9,000 wild animals and birds in her over 20 years of dedicated service on Vancouver Island.  Among those she cared for were many injured, weakened and sick native birds from numerous communities on the North Island including Alert Bay where Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons and Owl species were among some of the birds that were sent her way.

Maj was very aware of the increasing number of birds arriving to the Rescue Centre from the North Island and had been trying to organize a workshop for people interested from communities on the North Island to attend. Her goal was to teach early rescue and response techniques to injured or sick birds and how to better manage and network our response in getting them to MARS at Merville more quickly, to alleviate their suffering.

MARS has purchased land in a new location along the Old Island Highway, south of Merville and construction is planned for a new 1250 sq. foot wildlife hospital and building of a flight pen to give eagles, owls, swans and other large birds a place to build up their strength and recover in.

MARS Mission Statement:

“To conserve and protect native wildlife and its natural habitat through education and rehabilitation”
For more information on the organization or to donate to the building fund MARS – their contact office number is: 250-337-2021.


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