Of course the esoteric pursuit of bird watching can be undertaken in just about any corner of the province. There are, however, several major ornithological events that attract a broader, more common curiosity.

Woody Woodpecker: Spectacular migratory events aside, birding can be enjoyed just about anywhere. This industustrious Pileated Woodpecker was caught deconstructing a fir tree on Newcastle Island.   

British Columbia is an important stop on the migratory flyways of numerous species including black brant geese on Vancouver Island, snow geese, snowy owls and sandpipers in the Fraser River Delta and Boundary Bay and bald eagles to a number of coastal British Columbia rivers. These cyclical events attract photographers and naturalists from all over the world.

A mature bald eagle in Haida Gwaii.

For up-to-date information on birding phenomena such as the arrival of the snow geese or rare bird sightings contact:

Vancouver Bird Alert Hotline:

(604) 737-3074

Sponsors: Vancouver Natural History Society and Wildbirds Unlimited

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Vanilla Leaf

Vanilla Leaf

While modern adventurers smear their skin with toxic chemicals to keep pesky bugs at bay, natives of the Pacific Northwest took a less carcinogous approach. The fresh-squeezed juice of common Vanilla Leaf was applied to fend off mosquitos and black flies. Dried leaves, smelling faintly of vanilla, were hung in bunches about the longhouse for the same purpose. A potion of boiled Vanilla Leaf was used to wash bedding to eliminate bed bugs and mites and as a hair treatment to fend off lice and fleas. Look for Vanilla Leaf at trailside in heavy forest wherever moisture accumulates.

Illustration by Manami Kimura