www.reifelbirdsanctuary.com

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Winter home of the Snow Geese and one of Canada's top birdwatching sites.
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Planning Your Visit

(last updated May 4, 2021)

CLICK HERE FOR AN UPDATE ON COVID CLOSURES AND RESERVATIONS

Before You Come:

Familiarize yourself with how we manage this conservation site and all of the visitor rules. Many activities such as dog-walking, petting the birds, jogging or bicycling on trails, picking any vegetation or flying drones, for example, are not allowed. Our non-profit organization, the British Columbia Waterfowl Society runs the Sanctuary and admissions apply. You can buy a membership to cover admission for a year. The Sanctuary is in a rural setting on Westham Island. The travel time from Surrey and Vancouver is usually 45 minutes.

To Book Your Visit (NEW)

  • All visitors including members need to book their visit now.
  • Read our Covid Waiver and Terms and Conditions for Visiting (Mandatory)
  • Vehicle parking reservations:
    • Reserve a date and time slot (am or pm) in our on-line booking system.
    • Book one parking spot for your vehicle (you do not need to reserve for the occupants of your vehicle).
    • Weekend time spots fill up quickly, so you will need to go on-line at the right time. (see Reference Table)
    • If you are having trouble booking a visit, please check our Question and Answers section before calling us.
  • Bicycle parking reservations:
    • Please email us before 3 pm the day before. We will confirm your reservation.
    • Reserved bike spots are only for those using bicycles as their main transportation out to the Sanctuary. It is inappropriate to park "somewhere nearby " or anywhere on Westham Island just to cycle over to the Sanctuary, as this inconveniences our island neightbours.

Upon Your Arrival:

Come prepared. Dress appropriate for walking outdoors on gravel and grassy trails. Seasonal weather makes for constantly changing trail conditions. Wear proper footwear and proceed with care and attention on our trails and on any of our structures. Visitors use these at their own risk. Please review our Disclaimer page.
Check in at the Gift Shop. This is where you pay your admission. Staff will provide you maps of the area, bird seed, and information about the birds seen recently and answer questions. Note some temporary changes of facility use and hours are in place to reduce Covid-19 Coronavirus transmissions.

Hours:

 

9 am to 4 pm
Reservations Required (NEW).
Last entry 3 pm (NEW)
Closed Mondays (NEW)
The Sanctuary is not open in the evenings.

Most visitors spend 1 to 1.5 hours walking. Note that all visitors need to be out of the Sanctuary by 4 pm. (NEW)

Admission::

 

Adults $5
Seniors (60+) $3
Children (2-14) $3

Annual memberships are available.

 

Rules

Our Society manages the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary through a long-term agreement with the Government of Canada. Our rules reflect wildlife laws that protect birds and their habitats, and we also restrict activities which disturb birds or threaten the enjoyment and safety of others.

The habitat is protected here, so please stay on trails and do not pick flowers or fruit or other plants. What grows in the Sanctuary stays in the Sanctuary. To maintain the natural ecology, we also do not allow visitors to bring in plant or animal materials including their own bird seed from external sources. (see Bird Feeding Rules).

Trails are pedestrian walking paths for quiet birdwatching and nature appreciation.

  • No bicycles, tricycles, skateboards or other wheeled forms of locomotion except for wheelchairs and strollers;
  • No dogs or any other domestic or exotic animals;
  • No sports equipment, musical instruments, remote-controlled devices or devices with speakers. No drones, either, please.

Help us to keep this conservation area clean and safe for the birds and all visitors.

  • No smoking or littering
  • No cooking of any form on site
  • No picnic activities except at designated facilities at the entrance;
  • No climbing on or over fences, or tampering with bird feeders, nest boxes or other Sanctuary infrastructure.

Wildlife laws apply in this Migratory Bird Sanctuary (and National Wildlife Area).

  • No hunting or fishing;
  • No cutting, picking, damaging or removing vegetation, and no disturbing or removing soil, sand, gravel or other material;
  • No destroying or harrassing of any birds or wildlife, carcasses, nests or eggs;

It is illegal to harrass or harm birds here, so do not chase, pet or try pick them up. Keep away from birds that are sleeping or nesting, and keep far away (2m) from all nests.

Visitors are expected to walk quietly and obey posted signs and instructions from staff and volunteers.

   

How To Get Here


The Sanctuary is 13 km west of Ladner in the Municipality of Delta. Ladner is west of the intersection of Highways 10 and 17A. From Ladner, follow Ladner Trunk Road (Highway 10) west to 47A Avenue and on to River Road. Follow River Road westward for 3 km and cross the bridge on your right onto Westham Island. Follow the main road to where it ends and there is a sign pointing left towards the driveway entrance gates of the Sanctuary. Follow the driveway 1 km to the Sanctuary parking lot and our facilities. (more detailed Google Maps driving instructions). NOTE: There is no public transit out to the Sanctuary.

What To Do

Birdwatching

For the keen birdwatchers, we have a special Birding Page to outline how to get the most from your visit. For beginners this is a good place to learn, and you will find staff, volunteers and even other visitors quite willing to help you. Explore the Sanctuary on your own. We have some identification signs out along the trails. Be sure to take a trail map with you.

NEW April 2021 Ask about helping us to document the bird use of our nesting boxes. Earlier this year, we numbered them all, so you can help by giving us reports of who/what entered a box, whether it was a squirrel, Wood Duck or Chickadee. (Go here for how to help)

Book a program

We are currently not taking bookings for our programs. When Covid-19 issues ease, you will be able to sign your group for one of our Programs. We do educational tours for school classes, birding groups and others. Loaner binoculars are available at the Gift Shop.

Sightseeing & Photography

There are several kilometers of trails through diverse coastal habitats, many scenic lookouts and a constantly changing mix of bird life to observe here at the Sanctuary. Visit our What To See Page for an overview. Most of our visitors like the tower that overlooks the ocean marshes, the Vancouver area and Vancouver Island.

Kids & Nature

A trip to the Sanctuary to learn about the birds and watch all the wild things makes for an enjoyable family outing. Visit our Kids & Nature page for helpful hints for a good visit. Feeding the ducks in a long-standing popular activity for all ages, and Black-capped Chickadees will also take sunflower seeds from the hands of visitors.See our Bird Feeding Rules, though.

Quiet Zones

The quiet oceanside pathways of the Sanctuary are posted as No Feeding Areas, giving visitors opportunities to see shorebirds and more secretive wildlife such as rails with a minimum of noise and disturbance, and to reduce slope erosion caused by waterfowl.

Visit Our Shop

The Gift Shop is open from 9 am to 4 pm, and sells snacks, bird seed, binoculars, bird books, and many gift items, as well as an assortment of gently used books. This is where you can also borrow binoculars.

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