Bald Eagles in a tree
The Vancouver Island region has water to thank for its incomparable birding opportunities – more than 220 bird species are sighted here every year.
Ocean, marshes, lakes and rivers support a vast array of bird species, including bald eagles, brant geese and trumpeter swans. There are forests with birds such as owls and songbirds aplenty, too.
While bird numbers swell considerably during the spring and fall migrations, hundreds of species live year-round in the area, so anytime is a good time for birding on Vancouver Island. Some birding hotspots on Vancouver Island include Somenos Marsh Wildlife Refuge (Duncan), Courtenay River Estuary, Pacific Northwest Raptors, Swan Lake (Victoria), Esquimalt Lagoon (near Victoria), and Goldstream Provincial Park (near Victoria).
Most Vancouver Island birdwatching areas allow for self-guided birding tours, but there are also birding specific guided tours are available in some locations.
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18 Bird Watching in Vancouver Island
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Cortes Island, British Columbia
Hollyhock's spectacular ocean-front setting on super natural Cortes Island is an ideal backdrop for both transformative learning experiences and unforgettably dreamy holidays. Nestled between ancient forest and sandy beach, our internationally renowned centre for lifelong learning and well-being has been offering cutting-edge programs and conferences for 30+ years.
A stay at Hollyhock includes morning yoga classes, forest hikes, beach walks, occasional morning rows, 24hr toast/fruit/tea/coffee bar and three decadent organic vegetarian meals each day. (Check out our cookbooks!)
Guests may also book in for exquisite bodywork sessions and amazing kayak trips, including sunset paddles with naturally glowing bioluminescent waters.
From gorgeous tent sites to hand-built West Coast style oceanfront rooms, we accommodate guests visiting for learning programs, conferences, group bookings and holidays.
Knight Inlet Lodge is Canada's premier grizzly bear viewing destination. We have been featured in productions by the BBC Natural History Unit (2008), National Geographic, Time Magazine, Disney & many others around the world as the best place to view grizzly bears in their natural habitat. Situated in the lush Great Bear Rainforest, Knight Inlet Lodge caters to the wildlife enthusiast wishing unparallelled viewing opportunities for grizzly bears, whales, birds & many other species of animals. 2012 & 2013 Travellers Choice award winner.
2179 W Island Hwy
Qualicum Beach, British Columbia
Escape back in time & experience a retreat once reserved for royalty.
Discover Milner Gardens, a one-of-a kind woodland estate & gardens nestled in the peace that only an old-growth forest can provide; an oasis that rejuvenates the soul. Stroll the winding pathways and magical surroundings of an ancient coastal Douglas fir forest. Find peace & tranquility as you meander through the woodland gardens lined with rhododendrons, cyclamen & trilliums. Indulge in afternoon tea in the historic house overlooking the Strait of Georgia. Please visit our website for listings of special events.
Join us to experience unparallelled wildlife viewing, whale watching & awe-inspiring First Nations culture, amidst BC's most spectacular landscapes. Our motorized yacht, Great Bear II, is fully certified & inspected by Transport Canada annually, to help ensure your safety. Some of the best certified captains & crew. Our small group sizes mean our guests enjoy intimate experiences with nature & our photographers some of the best opportunities... our guests are never just part of a crowd. With a maximum of 6 guests per trip, our fully certified professional guides can better ensure the safety of the group while having the least impact on the lands we visit & the wildlife we view. Join our scheduled trips or design your own custom (private) charter & experience the wild in wilderness!
An eco-tour with the viewing of orcas, humpback & minke whales, numerous other marine mammals & seabirds while touring through the protected waters of Johnstone Strait & the Broughton Archipelago.
Departures are from: Alert Bay on Cormorant Island & the Alder Bay Resort on Vancouver Island. Our 4-5 hr "Sail with the Whales" tour offers exceptional service & value to individuals, families & small groups & includes fresh baked muffins & Devonshire Tea.
If you are looking for a unique & eco-friendly experience, join us, our carbon footprint is very small. There is no other whale-watching tour like it on the BC coast!
Ahousat, British Columbia
Aboriginal First Nations Eco-Cultural Experiences. Join us for a guided experience that will last for a lifetime. Experience our First Nations culture, our home & what we do today. Exchange stories with elders, local artists & singers. Enjoy traditional Aboriginal foods. Gather seafood, harvest hystuup from the reefs & fish for the tyee. Explore the Ahosuaht Hahoothee for spiritual connections, eagles, whales & other local happenings. Friends, Family & Storytelling.....See you soon.
Telegraph Cove, British Columbia
Committed to ethical & educational wildlife viewing, we are the first whale watching company established in BC, now in our 36th season. Based in Telegraph Cove, the Whale Watching Capital of BC, we offer tours through Johnstone Strait, Blackfish Sound & Broughton Archipelago Area.
You'll love our island, the magnificent mammals & bird species you'll see, and the friendly people you'll meet. Depending on the season, you may see Orca (Killer Whales), Humpback Whales, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Harbour Porpoises, Dall's Porpoise, Minke Whales, Bears, Steller Sea Lions & various birds.
Cruise in comfort in our 60 foot (17 metre) vessel MV Lukwa or the 40 foot (12 metre) MV Kuluta which have heated cabins & toilets, hydrophone (underwater microphone) so that you can hear the Orca vocalizations throughout the vessel.
1950 Peninsula Road
Ucluelet, British Columbia
March and April "Gray Whale Adventure" during the northern migration. May through October "Islands Whales and Bears" in this amazing see-it-all tour in Barkley Sound. A photographer's dream. "Bears and Birds" all the activity in Ucluelet harbour at low tide (best for bears). November to February "Broken Group Islands Sunset Cruise" or "Sunset Harbour Tour" featuring low angle light, sea lions, eagles, and no crowds. Choose the boat that suits your style, a fast and fun adventurous zodiac or a cosy enclosed cruiser. Our Guarantee - We can guarantee that if you do not go on a whale or bear watching tour, you will definitely not see a whale or a bear. Unfortunately, you will miss all the other amazing things our tours have to offer.