Watch Birds in Tofino!
by Adrian Dorst, Tofino
Who are these people walking around Tofino with binoculars hanging
from their necks, sometimes armed with huge tripods, spotting scopes
Are they mad?
No, they are just part of the fastest growing outdoor activity in
North America: Bird watching.
In the last ten years in the US alone, the number of bird watchers
has grown from 22 to 55 million. Bird watching is popular in the U.K.,
Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Costa Rica and is growing fast in Mexico.
Birds are found in just about all habitats. Having the ability to
migrate and navigate, bird populations are never static and here lies
in birding. Finding them takes skills in not only visual identification
but knowledge of bird sounds. A small "cheep" in the bushes
might not mean anything to the non-birder but to the skilled birder
it could be the only clue to the existence of a furtive species. Since
native bird populations are best found in undisturbed habitat and these
areas are often not easy to access, avid birders will go to extreme
efforts to get to the hot bird spots. Kayaking rainforest rivers that
cannot even be safely rafted or paragliding into roadless areas of
Nepal in search of rare birds is all in a days birding nowadays. Anyone
who thinks that birders are all armchair recreationists had better
think twice today.
Birders are also some of the most committed conservationists that
you will meet. You may find yourself going for a hike in a "bird
refuge." Remind yourself that these areas would not be preserved
or protected if it was not for the legions of birders who are willing
to put their money where most people's mouths are.
Birders vary greatly in their approach to the sport. (I would be
happy to debate whether birding is a sport or not with anyone who has
the other "sport" skills to travel safely in all types
of terrain in all kind of weather.) Some birdwatchers are very competitive
and try to get as many new bird species as unreasonably possible in
one year, or in a life time. This requires a big travel plan and budget
to accomplish these goals. Some are called "twitchers" and
try to list their new species but don't risk life and limb to
get their birds. Other bird watchers take a less competitive approach
and just enjoy the birds they see, not paying much attention to lists
Tofino has prime bird habitat and protected areas, and is situated
on the Pacific Flyway. Huge eel grass beds are the resting and feeding
grounds for thousands of shorebirds and geese in the spring. Over
50 Red Knots, an uncommon species of sandpiper, were seen here this
This area is known for storm blown rarities, and Tofino has the first
Canadian record for Oriental Turtle Dove and the third Canadian record
for Rustic Bunting.
Tofino birdwatching offers opportunities to have world class birding
in the protected habitat of the Clayoquot Sound area.
Adrian Dorst is a Tofino nature photographer, carver, and birdwatching
guide. His photos can be found in our photo
gallery or on Adrian's website
Tofino birdwatching offers opportunities to have world class birding in the protected habitat of the Clayoquot Sound area.