The days are getting shorter, and it’s starting to get chilly out there, but birding season is just getting started on the BC Bird Trail!

Don’t let the cooler temperature stop you – there are many advantages to birding in the fall. The weather is still pleasant, but not pleasant enough to draw summer crowds, so you’ll have all the benefits of quieter trails. Sure, lush green trees are lovely, but they’re not ideal for bird watching. As those gorgeous crunchy leaves fall to the ground, you’ll find an abundance of bare tree branches, far better for spotting our feathered friends, and it’s a great time of year to see woodpeckers for this very reason!

Autumn is actually one of the best times of the year to go birding because of the large amounts of bird migrations taking place. All three BC Bird Trails are ideally situated along parts of the Pacific Flyway, catching birds flying south seeking warmer climates. Some will stay for the duration of the winter to enjoy the tepid climate and abundance of food, while others only stop by for a break during their long journey further south. During peak migration, birding can be quite exciting and local birding spots can change overnight, welcoming a whole new host of species to identify.

Here are a few birds to keep an eye out for while exploring the BC Bird Trail this fall:

Turkey Vulture mid-flight.

Turkey Vultures

On the Central Vancouver Island Bird Trail, look for flocks of Turkey Vultures kettling in the sky, waiting to fly south on a thermal updraft. 

Trumpeter Swan standing in water resting its head on its back.

Trumpeter Swans

You’ll find newly returned Trumpeter Swans on both the Central Vancouver Island and Fraser Valley Bird Trails. FACT: these swans are both the heaviest and longest-living bird native to North America! 

Bufflehead duck swimming in water with a background of yellow flora.

Bufflehead ducks

Fall marks the return of Bufflehead ducks to the Central Vancouver Island and Richmond Delta Bird Trails. In non-COVID years, celebratory festivals are held in their honour! 

For more information on the science behind bird migration and what to expect on your fall birding excursion, read through this great resource from eBird.

Ready to plan your fall birding adventure? Explore our regional bird trails for inspiration and be sure to tag #BCBirdTrail in your photo posts and stories on Instagram so we can share your birding experiences.