Birding in Richmond, BC
Richmond is located along the Pacific Flyway, a major migratory route for many birds.
Richmond is one of British Columbia’s great birding capitals—an island city studded with unique, easy-access spotting opportunities. From winter visitors to a year-round rotation of raptors, shorebirds, waterfowl and more, the area’s parks and shorelines host one of Canada’s most diverse avian populations.
Four seasons of birding
Spring is song bird season and Iona Beach Regional Park offers a good diversity of travelling birds. The various warblers, such as the tiny Wilson’s Warbler, are bright flashes of yellow often associated with spring migration.
During the summer, the Common Yellowthroat, Black-headed Grosbeak, Rufous and Anna’s Hummingbirds are all striking birds found at Iona Beach Regional Park. For those willing to put in the extra effort, the shy Green Heron and the Willow Flycatcher can also be spotted. And watching hundreds of small Barn Swallows swooping back and forth, catching flies on the wing, is a special treat during the warm summer months.
During the transition from fall into winter, look offshore for a chance to see large numbers of Surf Scoters, Barrows Goldeneyes, and sleek Pacific Loons. If the time is right, you might be able to spot large flocks of Murres.
Winter is best time to see raptors, such as Short-eared Owls, Northern Harriers, and Rough-legged Hawks. With Canada’s highest aggregation of overwintering raptors, the marshland of Terra Nova Rural Park and the open fields of the Sea Island Conservation Area are the go-to places to see a wide range of raptor species, including the American Kestrel. Winter is also a great time to see waterfowl. The chance to see thousands upon thousands of Northern Pintails, Snow Geese, and American Wigeons can be a draw for those attracted to large numbers.
Budding Birder Backpacks
Anyone without proper birding gear can head to the Tourism Richmond Visitor Centre located in Steveston to pick up a Budding Birder Backpack. Tourism Richmond has partnered with Bird Studies Canada to offer free use of birding toolkits (deposit required) that include a pair of binoculars, an introduction to birding guide, birding reference books, and a birding map of Richmond.
The backpacks are available to use for free (for day use only); a refundable deposit of $300—secured on your credit card—will be taken at the time of pick up, and refunded when the complete toolkit is returned before the close of business day. The Budding Birder Backpacks can be reserved in person, or by emailing the Visitor Centre in advance. Note that there is a limit of one backpack per party of four.
Interested in doing some birding in Richmond? Check out the birding map below—which includes a list of birds with corresponding photos—or click here to download a copy of the map. A few of the top places for birding in Richmond are:
- Iona Beach Regional Park
- McDonald Beach Park
- Minoru Park
- Richmond Nature Park
- West Dyke Trail (running from Garry Point Park to Terra Nova Rural Park)
- South Dyke Trail
Remember to be respectful of wildlife, keep your distance at all times, and to never feed any wildlife you come across.