I’ve lived in British Columbia my whole life and last month I finally had the opportunity to visit the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Thanks to my birding partner Ken Kennedy, it was a dream come true. With in minutes of arrival I had Sandhill Cranes (a lifer to boot!), Canada Geese & an assortment of ducks eating out of my hand.
Before you even enter the sanctuary, there is a small building where you pay a small fee, one look from there and you are hooked. There is no turning back because there are birds everywhere you look. Perma grin set in and continued for the next few hours, so much so that cheeks hurt.
The Info Centre/Gift Shop sells small bags of bird seed to feed the hungry masses for about a dollar. You hardly need seeds to get up & personal with the birds of Reifel but it certainly helps you get even closer.
The geese were gentle and polite eaters but the Sandhill Cranes were quite aggressive and poked and prodded until I turned my attention to them.
The George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary is on Westham Island, west of the of Ladner, in Delta, B. C., Canada. It is nearly 300 hectares (850 acres) of managed wetlands, natural marshes and low dykes in the heart of the Fraser River Estuary. For the millions of birds seeking feeding and resting areas during their annual migrations along the Pacific Coast, the Sanctuary is ideally located. It is a place where wildlife and their habitats are protected from harm, and it lies next to miles of flat marshland and the farmland of Westham Island. Over 280 species of birds have now been recorded at the Sanctuary.
I spotted at least 31 species of which 11 were ‘lifers’!
Golden-crowned Sparrow, Great Blue Heron, Mute Swan, , Canada Goose (and goslings)Wood Duck, Mallard, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler,Turkey Vulture, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Fox Sparrow, Northern Harrier, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, Eurasian-collared, DoveShort-eared, OwlAmerican Crow, Marsh Wren, Black-capped Chickadee, EuropeanStarling, Spotted Towhee, Savannah Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Finch, House Sparrow and lots of gulls and pigeons.
9 am- 4 pm every day including holidays. The Sanctuary is closed in the evenings.
Children-(2-14 yrs)- $3
Seniors (60 yrs+)- $3
Driving Directions: The Sanctuary is 13 km west of Ladner in the Municipality of Delta. west of the intersection of Highways 10 and 17. From Ladner, follow Ladner Trunk Road (Highway 10) west to 47A Avenue and on to River Road. Follow River Road westward for 3 km and cross the bridge to Westham Island. Follow the main road to where it ends in front of large black gates. The driveway to the left leads to the Sanctuary’s parking lot.