Approximately 250 species of birds, mostly spring and fall migrants, have been identified within the park and bordering areas. Pacific Rim intercepts thousands of birds on their migratory journeys north and south. The diverse habitats available within the park, including sandy shores, rocky beaches, vertical cliffs, offshore islands and quiet estuaries and forests, offer attractive sites for bird populations. In Pacific Rim, birdwatching activities tend to be concentrated along the shorelines, rather than the forests, where thick vegetation often interferes with successful sightings. Quiet birds are not easily detected amongst the dense tangle of the rainforest. The best birdwatching coincides with seasonal migrations.
The numbers and types of birds seen in the park vary throughout the year. In January and February, resident and winter birds can be seen in their respective habitats. Loons, grebes and ducks (scoters, scaup and buffleheads) are on the water at this time. Winter wrens, song sparrows, and dark-eyed juncos are frequently seen in or along the forest fringe. Diving ducks and gull populations increase during March to take advantage of large schools of herring spawning in local waters. Varied thrush, juncos and song sparrows increase their numbers during this time.
Most winter birds have left by April or May, with the arrival of spring migrants and summer residents. In Pacific Rim, bird populations are lowest in June. By early to mid-July migrating shorebirds begin to line the beaches, and their numbers peak by August. September and October see the return of some winter species with only a few fall migrants left in the area by the beginning of November. Common goldeneye and trumpeter swans arrive in the park near the end of each year.
Pacific Rim has a variety of breeding resident birds. Red-throated loons, Brandt’s and pelagic cormorants, great blue herons, bald eagles, black oystercatchers and glaucous-winged gulls represent a sample of the sea and shore species breeding in the park. Steller’s jays, pileated woodpeckers, chestnut-backed chickadees, golden-crowned kinglets, winter wrens, brown creepers, and red crossbills represent the forest breeders. Altogether there are 54 breeding residents in the park and there are an additional 36 species that winter elsewhere but come into the park just for breeding. These include tufted puffins, rhinoceros auklets, Leach’s and fork-tailed petrels, band-tailed pigeons, marbled murrelets, rufous hummingbirds, Swainson’s thrush and orange-crowned warblers.
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