The George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary is one of Canada’s top birdwatching spots. The Sanctuary is an area of ponds, intertidal channels and marshes covering 300 hectares. Explore several kilometres of nature trails and discover some of the almost 300 bird species found here during the year. Be sure to take advantage of the scenic viewing platforms and special birdwatching areas. Here is a handy trail map. Stop at the gift shop to check for the weekly bird species list.

Discover one of the best birdwatching places in Canada Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Intertidal channels and marshes st the George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Best time to visit

There is bird activity all year in the George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary, one of Canada’s top birdwatching spots. The greatest number of migrating birds will be here from fall through spring. Beginning in October through mid-December watch for more than 85,000 Lesser Snow Geese as they arrive from Wrangel Island, Russia, located in the Arctic Ocean.

Here is a handy checklist for the birds of the sanctuary. November brings beavers. January brings quiet time for winter owls. April is nesting activity.  Check for more information here.

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Plan your visit

  • The Sanctuary is open all year from 9 am – 4 pm.
  • Admission: Adults – $6, Children ages 2 through 14 – $3, and Seniors 60 and older – $3.
  • Check the weather for Ladner then dress in layers with good sturdy walking shoes.
  • Allow at least 1 to 1 1/2 hours for your visit.
  • Be respectful. Keep noise to a minimum. Whisper so birds and wildlife are not disturbed.
  • Dogs or other animals are not allowed in the Sanctuary.
  • Strollers or wheelchairs only. No bikes, trikes or skateboards.
  • Keep on the trails to avoid damaging vegetation.
  • Watch where you are walking to avoid injuring tiny birds.
  • Smoking is not allowed in the sanctuary.
  • It is illegal to chase or harass the animals and birds. Stay 2 metres away from nesting and sleeping birds.
  • Picnic only at the front entrance in the designated area.
  • Check ideas for children on the Reifel Bird Sanctuary nature page.
  • The gift shop sells snacks, pop, bird seed, binoculars and gift items.
  • Guided tours are available, but must be booked in advance. Find out more about the programs offered. On Sunday a 10 am drop-in birding walk is offered.
  • If you would like to help collect data or see what has been collected for the ebird program at the Sanctuary, find our more.
Viewing platform at the Reifel Bird Sanctuary Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Viewing platform at the Reifel Bird Sanctuary. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

How to get to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary

The drive to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary from Vancouver is about 34 kms and will take almost one hour. Follow BC-99 South to the River Road Exit 29 in Delta. Follow River Road to Westham Island Road. Drive over the single lane swing bridge, one of the oldest bridges in BC, to the end of the road.  Find out more about what to do on your visit to Westham Island.

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