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

The End


Stinging Nettle

Stinging Needles

Roll in a patch of stinging nettle and you’ll think it’s a spelling mistake. Nettle’s stinging needles, as whispy as whiskers, are hollow and filled with formic acid which can cause burning, even blistering. Though aboriginal medicinal uses were various the principle technological use was as a source of hemp-like fiber for making thread and string. Stalks were picked late in the year when prickles had largely dropped off. Fibers were separated by rubbing or beating and then spun into thin threads. Those in turn could be braided to form thicker, stronger twine for weaving fine cloth, making fish nets and fishing line and, rarely, string bikinis.

Illustration by Manami Kimura