Flights of Spring in Nanaimo

Mar 09, 2015

This time of year is busy for the birds, particularly migrating and nesting ones. Nanaimo is part of the Pacific Flyway so we get a lot of activity with birds coming for the summer, birds leaving after overwintering here or birds just stopping by on the way to their nesting grounds elsewhere.

Just a sample of the birds you can spot around Nanaimo that are here to nest for the summer are Turkey Vultures, Rufous Hummingbirds, Orange-crowned Warblers and Tree Swallows. 

TurkeyVultures Rufoushummingbird

OrangecrownedWarbler TreeSwallow

Left to Right from top row: Turkey vultures, female Rufous hummingbird, Orange-crowned warbler, Tree swallow

Like some retirees from the prairies, many birds choose our mild climate to overwinter here such as Trumpeter Swans and some ducks like the Bufflehead. 

TrumpeterSwan   BuffleheadPair

Left to Right: Trumpeter swan, Bufflehead duck

A bird that is just stopping by on the way to its nesting grounds in the Arctic is the Pacific Black Brant goose. This amazing little goose makes the long journey from Mexico to the Arctic and only stops in a few places to rest and feed. Their main diet when on the shores of Eastern Vancouver Island is eel grass and herring row. When they arrive in this area, they are exhausted and starving. 


Pictured above: Pacific Black Brant goose

If conditions are right, you may see some of the birds listed above in your own backyard or you can visit the great birding hotspots around Nanaimo.

Some great birding spots in Nanaimo are Linley Valley Cottle Lake Park, Pipers Lagoon Park, Buttertubs Marsh Park, Richards Marsh Park, Diver Lake Park, Chase River Estuary Park and Jack Point and Biggs Park.

It’s important to use care around wetlands and along the shoreline especially between March and May. Walk your furry friends away from the beach during this time; perhaps try one of Nanaimo's many dog parks. Whether nesting or stopping here on their long journey, birds need space to rest and feed as they are an important indicator of and contributor to the health of our local ecosystem.

Photo Credits: Female Rufous Hummingbird By Brendan Lally from Delta, Canada, Orange-crowned Warbler By Dominic Sherony, Trumpeter Swan By Alan D. Wilson,, Bufflehead duck By Canonshot1012 and Brant goosE&Nbsp;By USFWS - Pacific Region.

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