Birding Tours

Birding with me

Finding birds is always exciting, whether you’re birding locally or in an exotic location. But it can also be a frustrating, time-consuming pursuit if you don’t know where or how to look. Whether you’re a hard-core lister trying to tick that elusive specialty, attempting to rack up as big a list as possible, or a casual birder just hoping to enjoy some fantastic birds, I can help you achieve your goals! Along the way, you’ll enjoy some amazing scenery and fantastic company.

Based in Victoria, BC, I can guide you to the creatures you seek. I have over 16 years experience birding in British Columbia, as well as experience birding in Europe, Asia, Mexico, and South America. As a birder and ornithologist, I have dedicated myself to the study and enjoyment of the world’s birds.

If you simply need help planning a trip, wish to hire a guide, or anything in between, please give me a shout. I am currently available for hire for full-day and half-day trips on weekends within the Victoria area, and I’m happy to give birding recommendations to visitors. I can be reached at volantbc AT gmail DOT com

As birders have different birding styles and expectations, food is not provided but can be pre-arranged at extra cost. Options include a packed breakfast and/or lunch, or we can stop for food at a store or restaurant if you prefer. I will provide a small snack and a bottle of water free of charge.

Prices are for the greater Victoria region, including Sidney, Saanich, Esquimalt, Metchosin, Langford and Sooke.  Extra charges will apply for travel outside these areas. Prices are for 1 to 3 participants. Discounts apply to individuals willing to use and drive their own vehicles. I only accept cash, and payment is due in full at the beginning of the trip. Prices include tax and are in Canadian dollars.

Full-day  – $200.
Half-day  – $125.

Birding in the Victoria area

Victoria and surrounding areas offer some of the best and most diverse birding in Canada. Over 360 bird species have been documented here, including many west-coast specialties.

Spring signals the arrival of migrants, such as Black-throated Gray Warbler, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Violet-green Swallow, Rufous Hummingbirds, and many others. The forests become alive with the song and colourful flashes of these birds, many of which arrive from the Neotropics.

Summer is busy with migrants and residents raising their broods.  Although finding birds becomes slightly more challenging as birds sing less, the patient observer is often rewarded with extended views of family groups. Summer is the best time to spot species such as Black and Vaux’s Swift overhead, and you never know just what will turn up next!

Autumn is an extended season here. South-bound birds start passing through in July and many migrants continue right through September and October. These departing birds are augmented by increasing numbers of waterfowl and raptors, which stay through the winter. Wandering Tattler, Heermann’s Gull, and occasionally a Brown Pelican or two are among the specialty birds one can find off the Victoria watefront. Fall is also the best time to find shorebirds, with the “rock-pipers” (Surfbird, turnstones, and tattlers) being the main highlight here.

Winter sees large numbers of birds, including Trumpeter Swans, Ancient and Marbled Murrelets, and other alcids.  Many species of raptors also peak in abundance at this time of year. Sometimes, when winds are just right, pelagic species turn up in the inside straits, including Northern Fulmar, Cassin’s Auklet, and several species of shearwater. With an impressive list of rarities over the years, you just never know what will show up next!

Coastal BC is unique in Canada in that we have many resident bird species. The newly minted Pacific Wren is ubiquitous, and nationally range-restricted species such as Bushtit and Anna’s Hummingbird can be encountered anytime.  The Saanich Peninsula is also now the only place in North American that one can reliably find the introduced Eurasian Skylark.

With a quaint English feel, world-class museums, parks, and restaurants, Victoria offers much to complement your birding vacation, or to appease those non-birding travel companions. Let Volant BC take care of your travel plans, for a truly unforgettable holiday.

For more information about what bird species to expect in a given season, please consult the Victoria area eBird barcharts, available online here.

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