7th annual tofino shorebird festival

Tofino's 7th Annual Shorebird Festival

by Jen Pukonen


You can be sure it’s Spring when you see flocks of shorebirds darting along our shoreline. Every year beginning in mid-to-late April flocks of sandpipers, plovers, whimbrels, and many other shorebirds pass through the Tofino area.

The combination of expansive mudflats and long sandy beaches create an ideal habitat for shorebirds. These habitats provide the opportunity for hundreds of thousands of shorebirds to feed and rest before they continue their impressive journey north. The annual migration between their southern wintering grounds (which can be as far as the southern tip of South America) and northern breeding grounds (Canada and Alaska) can be up to 7000 km, with 2000 km between stops! Because some birds only stop here for a couple of days it is critical that they are given space to feed and rest. During the shorebird migration, try not to get too close to flocks of shorebirds and keep dogs under control, on a leash if necessary. If you sit quietly nearby and use binoculars or a spotting scope, you can easily observe the birds without disturbing them.

Watching the flashes of colour as a flock of shorebirds dance and dart about in harmony is an incredible sight. The Annual Shorebird Festival was created to raise awareness and appreciation about this remarkable migration.

To find out more about shorebirds, drop by the RIC and pick up a copy of our Bird Checklist and Birding in Tofino Brochure.

Friday, May 7th, 7:30 pm at the RIC

Mud, Bugs, and Sex:

The Importance of Feeding Behaviour in Western Sandpipers
With Kim Mathot, Masters student from SFU who studies the feeding ecology of sandpipers on their migration and wintering grounds. For info call 725-2560.

Saturday, May 8th

International Migratory Bird Day

Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day joining us for a morning of birding, an afternoon interpretive walk, or by dropping by the Raincoast Interpretive Centre between 12 Noon and 5 pm to pick up a bird checklist or a Birding in Tofino brochure. For info call 725-2560.

Saturday, May 8th, 9-11 am

A Morning of Birding

Join expert birders at two shorebird viewing locations.
Chesterman Beach: Park at the South Chesterman Beach Parking lot and look for the spotting scopes and birders on the beach.
Tofino Botanical Gardens: Meet a naturalist at the viewing platform along the shore. The garden entrance fee is usually $10, but in support of the Festival if you buy a pass on the Saturday it will be good for 3 days, and 50% of the proceeds will be donated back to the RES. For info call 725-2560.

Saturday May 8th, 2pm-3pm,

Shorebird Walk

Join park interpreter Silva Johansson for a guided shorebird walk on Saturday afternoon. Meet on the front observation deck of the Wickanninish Interpretive Centre in PRNPR at 2:00 pm. For info call 725-2560.

Saturday, May 8th, 7:30 pm

Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

Garry Donaldson from the Canadian Wildlife Service.
The Tofino Mudflats Wildlife Management Area is currently being considered for this designation. For info call 725-2560.

Sunday May 9th, 2pm-3pm,

Shorebird Walk

Join park interpreter Silva Johansson for a guided shorebird walk on Sunday afternoon. Meet on the front observation deck of the Wickanninish Interpretive Centre in PRNPR at 2:00 pm. For info call 725-2560.

Raincoast Interpretive Centre
451 Main St, Tofino, BC
Box 815, V0R 2Z0
Ph (250)725-2560, Fax (250)725-1252

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The 7th Annual Tofino Shorebird Festival is taking place from May 7 - May 9, 2008 with events in Tofino, Ucluelet and the Pacific Rim National Park.

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