We're very fortunate at West Coast Seeds because our farm and main offices are situated in farmland quite close to the shore in one of the richest birding regions in the country. The towns of Ladner and Tsawwassen (which form South Delta) are situated between the Fraser River estuary and Boundary Bay, which happens to make the area incredibly suitable for birds. This whole region is part of the Pacific Flyway, which is a migratory route for a huge range of birds travelling north or south, depending on the season.
Because most of the surrounding farmland lays quiet in the winter, it makes ideal grazing grounds for tens of thousands of Lesser Snow Geese as they stop over between the Skagit Valley in Washington and their summer breeding grounds in Russia. This is just one of the many spectacles as huge numbers of birds pass through the area on a seemingly precise calendar schedule.
The main season of high bird activity in Delta runs from October through April, with a rest period in high summer. During the fall and winter thousands of birders visit the area to observe over three hundred species of waterfowl, songbirds, and raptors.
Raptors (birds of prey) are present year round in Delta, and play a significant role controlling rodents on farmland. Owls, hawks, and eagles are welcome residents here and can be seen nearly every day from the local highways. In deep winter, hundreds of Bald Eagles congregate near the Vancouver landfill area to socialize and feed on scraps. To see such majestic birds in numbers that size is amazing.
In spring, over five hundred pairs of Great Blue Herons nest in one of the area's largest colonies in the wooded bluffs adjacent to the Tsawwassen First Nation land. The population has grown exponentially over the past thirty years, and the tall waders can be seen in vast numbers from the BC Ferries causeway.
Throughout the year, the George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary on Westham Island draws thousands of visitors from around the world as its collection of dykes and meadows form a superb range of bird spotting opportunities.
Here on the farm, we have planted a large bird garden as a demonstration for Gardening for Birds. In the fall of 2019, we partnered with the Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust to plant a hedgerow along the whole eastern border of our property. This will serve for decades to come as nesting area and wildlife corridor for local birds and mammals.
To recap, we are very fortunate to live and work in this remarkable region, where nature and wildlife are daily experiences, and constant reminders of keeping our gardens natural and diverse.