The Pacific Flyway

The Pacific Flyway

Tens of thousands of birds grace our local shores as they follow their age-old migration route, known as the Pacific Flyway.

Birds migrate to survive. Billions of birds migrate vast distances across the globe twice a year.

The Pacific Flyway runs from Southern Chile through parts of western Canada up to the Arctic tundra and boreal forest. Three other major migration Flyways also run south-north across North America. All are bounded by geographical features like mountains.

Spectacular numbers and varieties of water and shorebirds come to feed and rest along our coast. Many, such as Surf Scoters, loons and some duck species come here to over-winter and await the spring thaw of their breeding grounds in interior lakes, marshes and waterways. Others, such as Black Turnstone, Willet, Semipalmated Sandpiper, and Brant pass through our area in the spring to feed and rest on their way to far northern breeding grounds.

The Parksville Qualicum area has global significance for migratory birds. We host so many species of birds that our area has been designated an “Important Bird Area” (IBA).

Unfortunately, these birds travel so far, across so many jurisdictions with different laws and policies around conservation and endangered species that many of the 350 migrant bird species that breed in North America and winter in Central and South America and the Caribbean are in rapid decline.

To address this situation, a number of projects are being coordinated among 19 partners from south to north to protect or restore crucial stopover areas, the IBAs.  Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada are two of the partners in this cooperative effort to protect birds as they follow their ancient flyways.

We must continue to do our part to protect endangered species on our small piece of the Pacific Flyway.