The Pacific Black Brant

The Pacific Black Brant

There is a lovely small sea goose that comes to our coastal area every spring, the Pacific Black Brant Goose. The “Brant” fly to the Parksville-Qualicum Beach area from Mexico and California and stop to rest and refuel for the next leg of their arduous journey to their Arctic breeding grounds.

The Brant migration is a true wonder of nature. No other geese nest so far north and very few travel as far. Brant begin arriving in February, with numbers increasing greatly during March and April. By May, most have left our waters.

The beaches and estuaries along our shores provide all the conditions the Brant need to continue their journey. Brant spend up to 70% of their day feeding. When disturbed, they waste valuable energy taking flight. This is the reason dogs are not allowed on Parksville-Qualicum Beach Wildlife Management Area beaches from March through April. Studies show that reducing the disturbance to their migration has greatly increased Brant survival and made a real difference.

The Brant mate for life, jointly raise their young and the family group remains together during their fall migration south. Eggs and young often fall prey to the Arctic Fox. For this reason, the Brant are easily frightened by dogs, which resemble the four-legged Arctic predator.

Thank you for keeping dogs off the beach and giving space to these wonderful birds.