Volunteer Spotlight: Kathy Zimany

Photo: Kathy Zimany

How long have you been a FLAP volunteer?

Officially, I started in 2011; unofficially since 1997.

In what capacity do you volunteer?

I monitor and pick up birds at buildings around Midtown Toronto. Occasionally, I help at tabling events and fold brochures at the FLAP office. 

What initially drew you to volunteer with FLAP?

The building beside me, where I live, has bird-window collisions. Around 1998, I started picking up and bringing these beautiful yellow birds to downtown FLAP centres, either in the TD or Royal Bank Plaza. 

What keeps you motivated?

Birds are one of my favourite animals. I like their ability to fly. I love music and many of the birds that I pick up sing wonderful songs. I think it would be sad to lose these natural wonders. 

Can you tell me about a particularly memorable or rewarding experience?

One autumn morning, when I first started with FLAP, I was already outside on my front porch. Next door, there was a building with a glass curtain wall and I could hear the chatter of birds. One-by-one they flew into that glass curtain wall, falling everywhere, in the garden, on top of the hedges and on the pavement along the front. I managed to net most of them. One of the FLAP drivers came by to help. Usually, the odds are against the birds, but not that day. There were about 8 Golden-crowned Kinglets (5 alive, 1 escapee, 2 dead) and a very handsome Field Sparrow (alive). It was miraculous!

What’s your favourite bird and why?

That’s a tough one. I’m caught between the American Robin and the kinglets. Growing up, I watched American Robins hunting worms in the backyard lawn, and hearing their songs meant it was spring. Now, kinglets are my newfound joy; they are little birds with big personalities. 

Golden-crowned Kinglet. Photo: Nancy Barrett

What would you tell someone who was thinking about volunteering with FLAP?

If you are monitoring and picking birds around your area, don’t be discouraged. Every bird counts. Do your best and be kind to yourself. For me, wild blueberries, especially in wild blueberry pie, boost my morale.  

Interested in volunteering with FLAP? Check out our volunteer page for more information.