British Columbia·New

Bird-watchers spot rare species in Vancouver this spring

As the weather warm up, many species of birds are beginning to fly back up North and, while some are returning and will stay for the season, others are just passing through.

Bird expert describes where to find unusual species and what to look for this migration season

Bird expert Colin Clasen is hoping to spot some warblers, like the one above, in the Lower Mainland this spring. (Mike Evans/CBC)

As the weather warms up, many species of birds are beginning to fly back up north and, while some are returning and will stay for the season, others are just passing through.  

That means now is the time for bird-watchers to grab their binoculars and try to catch a glimpse of lesser-seen species in the area. Colin Clasen, editor for the Birder's Guide to Vancouver, is on the lookout for birds that typically aren't found in the Lower Mainland.

"We're getting a lot of migrants that are coming into the Greater Vancouver Area," Clasen said. "Some of them are regulars here and some are passing through to go up to the interior."

He described a couple of this season's unusual sightings to host Gloria Mackarenko of CBC's On The Coast, like the yellow-rumped warblers and black-headed grosbeaks that have been spotted recently.

"A very rare bird, the tufted duck, is at the New Brighton Park by the Second Narrows Bridge and last week it was out at the airport fence," Clasen added.

Returning after a long winter

B.C.'s long, cold winter has kept many migratory birds away until now and delayed the nesting process.

"The timing of them coming up here depends a lot on the current temperatures," Clasen said. "With the temperatures starting to rise, the birds are starting to come back."

For bird-enthusiasts hoping to spot some of the more rare species as they pass through Vancouver, Clasen recommended buying a pair of binoculars and joining a bird-watching group.

"Getting together with other birders is one of the most important things," he said.

The best places to break out those binoculars, Clasen said, is at Jericho Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary and on the North Shore mountains.

With files from On The Coast.


To hear the full audio, click on the link labelled Rare birds passing through Vancouver.

now