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PWL Slave Lake residents embrace birds
on both sides of the window

Aug 28th, 2017

Residents in Points West Living Slave Lake’s memory care cottages are interacting with bird species they’ve known in nature throughout their lives. The plush versions residents hold now are cuddly replicas of their wild brethren that flock to garden feeders outside the window. 

Audubon plush birds... represent local birds

Recreation Therapist Hannah Kaup is behind the Bird Tales initiative, “where we learn more about the birds that surround us in Northern Alberta.” Hannah starts each session by turning on nature background sounds and passing around Audubon plush birds that represent local birds; blue jay, chickadee, northern cardinal, bald eagle, mallard, robin, and woodpecker.

Multiple birds chirping and squawking

“These plush birds make accurate calls when squeezed, and the residents love listening to them. Their faces light up with delight and recognition of the sounds. At times, they have multiple birds chirping and squawking at the same time, creating a very fun atmosphere.”

Hannah shares some information about the birds while each resident gets a turn to hold and listen to each one. Then they work together to fill the bird feeders that hang in the gardens. “We do this to encourage birds to visit our gardens so we can enjoy them on a daily basis," Hannah adds, “The residents truly enjoy helping with this task and watching for birds out of their windows." 

Poetry, stories and sharing

“We wrap up the program with some readings of bird-themed poetry, and short stories about nature, animals, camping, farming, and gardening. These readings get the residents excited to share stories about their past experiences and love for nature, and they usually don’t want it to end.”

Family members welcome

“It is very exciting to have such an engaging and fun activity, and we will continue it throughout the year,” Hannah says, adding that she plans to encourage family members to visit future Bird Tales gatherings. “It would open it up for more discussion and storytelling.”

Photo: Resident Lilli Gutowski shows off the Northern Red Cardinal – and gives it a squeeze to hear its very musical call – at PWL Slave Lake Bird Tales sharing time.

More photos at Flickr:PWL Slave Lake residents embrace birds on both sides of the window

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