Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada

Birding

Are you an avid birder? Then you are in the right place! Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, a world-class birding haven for over 300 bird species, will steal your heart. The park’s diverse habitat – from sandy beaches to mud flats, rocky shorelines to dense coniferous rainforest, and bogs to meadows – supports a great variety of bird life.

Look and Listen 

Spring (March-May): Many Migrations

The park is located on the Pacific Flyway—a super highway for migratory birds connecting the tundra of Alaska and the Canadian north with the tropics and subtropics of central and South America. Late April and early May are peak northward shorebird migration periods. Thousands of shorebirds stop at the Long Beach Unit of the park during this time to rest and feed before continuing their journey to their breeding grounds. For resident birds and some migrants, the park is also where they look for mates and raise their young.

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Shorebirds at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Summer (June-August): The Young and the Restless

Summer brings the juveniles (young birds), along with adult shorebirds that begin migrating south as early as mid-July. Migration to the south however peaks in early August and early September. This is also an excellent time of year to see various species of gulls.

Fall/Winter (September-February): Winter Visitors

Fall and winter see the arrival of other winter migrants, including waterfowl that journey from the cold interior regions to the balmy ice-free waters of the coast. Winter storms will occasionally bring sightings of rare migrating birds blown off course.

Year-round

Spring
(March – May)

Summer
(June – August)

Fall/Winter
(September – February)

  • Bald Eagle
  • Common Raven
  • Steller's Jay
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadee
  • Black Oystercatcher
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Winter Wren
  • Common Loon
  • Pelagic Cormorant
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Killdeer
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • Geese: Canada, Greater White-fronted, Brant
  • Shorebirds: Sanderling, Western Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Black-bellied Plover
  • Warblers: Orange-crowned, Townsend's, Wilson's
  • Rufous Hummingbird
  • Shorebirds: many adults will still be in breeding plumage
  • Juvenile birds of many species
  • Gulls of many species 
  • Osprey
  • Trumpeter Swans
  • Harlequin ducks
  • Bufflehead
  • Common and Barrow's Goldeneyes
  • Three species of scoters
  • Rare migrants blown off-course by winter storms
  • Snowy Owl
  • Shorebirds

Birding Tips 


Migratory shorebirds
© Parks Canada

Migratory and resident birds depend on the park for resting, feeding and breeding.

  • Birds’ priority: To survive and reproduce.
  • Your priority: To ensure your bird watching does not endanger the birds.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of birding while protecting our feathered friends all year round:

  • Speak to Parks Canada staff to find out what species you are likely to see, recent sightings, wildlife warnings and area closures. They can also share a bird checklist with you. Be sure to report rare, injured or dead birds to Parks Canada staff.
  • Keep dogs on a leash. Birds are easily disturbed, and disturbance while feeding could cause them to lose time and energy critical for their survival.
  • Prepare for the weather and habitat you're birding in. Dress appropriately and know the tides if birding on the shore.
  • Give birds space. Allow at least 25 m of space (5 car lengths) between you and birds foraging and resting on the beach. Binoculars, zoom lenses and spotting scopes help to observe birds from a distance.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. The park is home to large carnivores such as cougars, wolves and bears. Since birding often involves standing still and being concealed, be aware that YOU may be watched!