The traditional territories of the Sts’ailes, Seabird Island, Sq’ewá:lxw, Cheam, Douglas, Leq’a:mel, Samahquam, Sq’ewlets, Skatin and Stó:lō Coast Salish Peoples, as well as the Katzie, Kwantlen, Matsqui, Semiahmoo, Semá:th, and Mathxwí First Nations.

The Fraser Valley Bird Trail ushers birders along on a riverside tour of some of the province’s richest birding regions. Composed of four unique communities, this trail stretches from the Township of Langley in the west, through the Fraser River cities of Abbotsford and Chilliwack to the Village of Harrison Hot Springs at the southern end of Harrison Lake.

The longest river in the province, the Fraser River rises high in the Rocky Mountains before descending through the rapids of the Fraser Canyon for more than 1,300 kilometres on its way to the river’s mouth at the Strait of Georgia. Along the way are abundant waters, rich marshlands, and bountiful salmon to welcome home migrating birds every year.

Not just the home to a few migratory waterfowl, the Fraser Valley routinely welcomes more than 200 distinct species to the region every year. From Langley to Harrison, this trail outlines dozens of incredible opportunities for birders of all backgrounds to spot unique birds along the mighty Fraser River.

Spring birding in Fraser Valley

Spring brings migration to the Fraser Valley, with an ever-changing list of guest appearances all season. Kinglets and chickadees dart from branch to branch, brown creepers scale the trees in the forest, and spotted towhees alert you to their presence with their abrasive call. The red crossbill, found in coniferous forests, is a fascinating bird with its unique, overlapping beak. At a river or stream’s edge, you might catch the impressive sight of a small, round American dipper swimming through the rushing water to catch its tiny meals.

Summer birding in Fraser Valley

Summer on the Fraser features skies filled with warm-weather visitors. Several aerobatic swallow species (including tree, violet-green, cliff, and northern rough-winged) dart around over fields, lakes, and ponds – it’s quite a thrill to have one zoom past at close range! If you’re near water, you may see the coastally-specialized raptor, the osprey, scanning for fish. If you see one hovering, keep an eye on it, as it might be about to plunge into the water for a catch. In the trees, the gorgeous colours of cedar waxwings make for beautiful photos, and BC’s provincial bird, the curious and friendly Steller’s jay, can be found in the forest – especially around campgrounds. From deep in the trees, the majestic, cascading song of a Swainson’s thrush can be enjoyed, even if they rarely let themselves be seen.

Fall birding in Fraser Valley

Take a stroll through a forest in fall and follow your ears to one of our local woodpecker species drumming away on a tree. From the large, red-capped pileated woodpecker, to the hairy woodpecker and its smaller lookalike, the downy, their sounds echo through the trails. There’s even the northern flicker, a woodpecker often found foraging on the ground, which has delightful polka dots on its front. Other active park residents include kinglets and chickadees, ensuring that a walk through the trees is rarely without activity.

Winter birding in Fraser Valley

The weather may get cooler, but the forests are still buzzing with many resident species throughout the winter in the Fraser Valley. The mild climate means kinglets, chickadees, woodpeckers, and Steller’s jays can be found, even as the weather turns. The striking orange of a varied thrush can brighten up any winter day. One bird to keep an eye out for is the gyrfalcon, an uncommon but thrilling sight that occasionally visits from the arctic.