Find a Birding Spot Near Vancouver on the BC Bird Trail

Northern Flicker woodpecker

Northern Flicker Woodpecker. Photo Scottslm on Pixabay.

Did you know that British Columbia is on the Pacific Flyway, a major north-south migration route for birds flying between Alaska and Patagonia? That means that the Vancouver area is a great spot to go birding! The BC Bird Trail is a new initiative designed to help you find the best places to bird watch across BC. To get you started, here are a few BC Bird Trail locations near Vancouver.

Beginner Birding Tips

  • Give birds lots of space. Bring binoculars or use the zoom lens on your camera to get a closer look.
  • Be quiet. Birds can hear better than humans and will fly away if they hear loud noises.
  • Be still and avoid sudden movements that can startle birds.
  • Get a birding guide book or app to help you identify the species you are seeing.
  • Try going early or late in the day – many birds are most active near dawn and dusk
Woman with binoculars watching birds

Photo: Jordan Spalding on Unsplash.

 

Iona Beach Regional Park, Richmond

Located just north of the airport, this regional park includes beaches on both the Fraser River and the Strait of Georgia. Watch for herons fishing at the water’s edge. The ponds near the main parking area and McDonald Slough near the entrance are great places to watch for water birds. Keep an eye out for raptors like rough-legged hawks soaring overhead.

 

George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Delta

This huge 300 hectares (850 acres) sanctuary on Westham Island near Ladner includes wetlands, natural marshes, and low dykes in the Fraser River Estuary. It’s an important stopping point for dozens of migratory bird species, making spring and fall the best times to visit. There are also plenty of friendly ducks year-round. To visit the sanctuary, book a timeslot online in advance.

 

Boundary Bay Regional Park, Tsawwassen

The tidal flats in Boundary Bay are home to lots of waterfowl and shorebirds, which you can spot from the 16.4 km-long Dyke Trail. In some winters, majestic white snowy owls stop here on their migration. For a shorter outing, follow the Raptor Trail through old fields. If you watch carefully, you may spot owls and hawks hunting.

 

Campbell Valley Regional Park. Langley

With several different habitats including forests, grasslands, and wetlands, this Langley park attracts many bird species. The Little River Loop trail is a great place to start. It heads through the forest and follows the riverbank on a series of boardwalks. Watch for songbirds in the reeds, ducks bobbing in the water, and raptors soaring overhead.

 

Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve, Chilliwack

The wetlands near the Vedder River in Chilliwack are home to one of British Columbia’s largest great blue heron colonies, with over 150 nests. The colony is most active in spring and summer, but you can spot herons and water birds year-round. Quietly spy on birds from inside the bird blinds or climb the viewing tower for an amazing overhead view.

Woman looking through a spotting scope at Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve in Chilliwack

Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve. Photo: BC Bird Trail

 

For lots more bird watching locations around BC, check out the BC Bird Trail.

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