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George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary(Delta) - BirdForum Opus

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Sandhill Cranes
Photo by eastwood
West Trail, January 2012


Located in the heart of the Fraser River estuary on Westham Island. Winter home of the Lesser Snow Goose.


Lesser Snow Goose, October 2008
Photo by Techgirl

Notable Species

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Temminck's Stint, Boreal Owl, Brambling


Birds you can see here include:

Red-throated Loon, Pacific Loon, Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Eared Grebe, Western Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Brandt's Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, American Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Turkey Vulture, Greater White-fronted Goose, Emperor Goose, Snow Goose, Ross's Goose, Canada Goose, Black Brant, Mute Swan, Trumpeter Swan, Tundra Swan, Wood Duck, Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Black Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Smew, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Osprey, White-tailed Kite, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Golden Eagle, American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Gyrfalcon, Prairie Falcon, Ring-necked Pheasant, California Quail, Virginia Rail, Sora, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, Black-bellied Plover, American Golden-Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Black Oystercatcher, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Redshank, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Long-billed Curlew, Hudsonian Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Black Turnstone, Red Knot, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Dunlin, Stilt Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Ruff, Short-billed Dowitcher, Long-billed Dowitcher, Common Snipe, Wilson's Phalarope, Red-necked Phalarope, Red Phalarope, Parasitic Jaeger, Franklin's Gull, Bonaparte's Gull, Short-billed Gull, Ring-billed Gull, California Gull, American Herring Gull, Thayer's Gull, Western Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Glaucous Gull, Caspian Tern, Common Tern, Black Tern, Marbled Murrelet, Rock Dove, Band-tailed Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Barn Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Snowy Owl, Barred Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Common Nighthawk, Black Swift, Vaux's Swift, Anna's Hummingbird, Calliope Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Lewis's Woodpecker, Red-naped Sapsucker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Western Wood Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Hammond's Flycatcher, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Say's Phoebe, Western Kingbird, Eastern Kingbird, Northern Shrike, Cassin's Vireo, Hutton's Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Steller's Jay, Blue Jay, Black-billed Magpie, Northwestern Crow, Common Raven, Horned Lark, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Violet-green Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Bank Swallow, Barn Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Mountain Chickadee, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Bushtit, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Bewick's Wren, House Wren, Pacific Wren, Marsh Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Mountain Bluebird, Townsend's Solitaire, Veery, Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Varied Thrush, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Crested Myna, American Pipit, Bohemian Waxwing, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Hermit Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Palm Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush, MacGillivray's Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Wilson's Warbler, Western Tanager, Spotted Towhee, American Tree Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Harris's Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, Black-headed Grosbeak, Bobolink, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Rusty Blackbird, Brewer's Blackbird, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Bullock's Oriole, Pine Grosbeak, Purple Finch, House Finch, Red Crossbill, Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, Evening Grosbeak, House Sparrow

Other Wildlife

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Site Information

History and Use

When George C. Reifel bought his property in 1927, it consisted of land isolated from the rest of Westham Island by Ewen, Robertson and Fuller Sloughs, natural river channels which dissected the island. Although all equipment and building materials needed to be barged in, by 1929, he had consolidated more land, and created a large recreational family retreat in this idyllic location. Dykes and causeways were constructed to create waterfowl habitats and road access connecting his land ("Reifel Island") to the rest of Westham Island. Although the family ran successful real estate and brewery businesses, Reifel Farm, as it became known, was also very successful, and during WW2 was responsible for over one-third of the sugar beet seed production of Canada.

In the 1960's, his son, George H. Reifel, granted the first lease to the British Columbia Waterfowl Society for a Bird Sanctuary to be named after his late father. Ducks Unlimited Canada was brought in to assist with the water management of the many wetland habitats on the site, and has continued to be an active partner in the management of the area. The provincial government supplemented this effort by establishing a game reserve on the adjacent intertidal foreshore.

By the turn of the century, protective dykes had been built along the Fraser River to protect Ladner's thriving farming and fishing-based community from the Fraser River and the tidal waters of the Strait of Georgia. Nearby river islands were only partially dyked or left to flood each year naturally, and were often sites of fishing camps which supplied the numerous local salmon canneries. On Westham Island, Ewen Slough was the site of one of these camps, named after Alexander Ewen, a scotsman who owned several local canneries.

Areas of Interest

George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary

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Access and Facilities

The Sanctuary is located on the outskirts of the Village of Ladner, in Delta, BC.

Contact Details

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  1. George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary

External Links

  1. Official website for the Sanctuary

Content and images originally posted by panthers1