For the Birds

For the Birds

( And the people who watch them! )

If you think that you’ve got to break a sweat to enjoy the great outdoors, then prepare to be pleasantly surprised. There’s a lot to appreciate in nature without raising your heart rate or burning an unprecedented number of calories.

You don’t have to complete a hike, huffing and puffing as you strive for a personal best. And you don’t have to partake in anything extreme, like flying through the air as you traverse trails on a mountain bike! A lot can happen in the quietest and most meditative moments.

Whether you take life fast or slow, Surrey has enough parks, trails and bodies of water to suit every kind of traveler, including ones with wings.

Did you know that Surrey is home to a number of parks that provide year-round birdwatching? In fact, there are over 200 unique species of birds to see in Surrey! Birdwatching is a contemplative, peaceful activity. For those who aren’t fans of ogling animals in captivity, it’s an ideal way to appreciate Surrey’s winged wildlife in their natural habitat.

Spring is the season in which rare migrant birds like eagles and snowy owls stop to rest and refuel before continuing their journey North. During this time, local birds also seek out breeding spots, which makes the season of new beginnings a fun one for birdwatching. Keep your keen eyes peeled at Mud Bay Park, Blackie Spit Park and Serpentine Wildlife Management Area, better known as the Serpentine Fen. At Serpentine Fen alone, there are over 130 species of birds to see over an expanse of 370 acres. The popular viewing tower is a great way to gain a different perspective.

Birdwatchers looking for a challenge will love the summer months as it’s when birds are busy caring for (and protecting!) their young. Be prepared to look a little harder, as during these months waterfowl such as ducks shed their feathers and grow new ones and may be more difficult to identify. Birdwatch in the sun at Green Timbers Urban Forest Park, Surrey Lake Park and Crescent Park.

As the leaves disappear from the trees, so do some of the challenges associated with birding. Autumn is the perfect time of year to see songbirds and woodpeckers due to the season’s typically sparse branches. Advanced birders will also appreciate the fall months as young birds who haven’t yet developed their adult patterns can be spotted. Migrating shorebirds and waterfowl also stop in at this time of the year before heading south for the winter. Grab your gumboots and head to Elgin Heritage Park, Blackie Spit Park and Crescent Beach.

It’s worth bundling up and braving the cold, because winter is the perfect season to spy chickadees, bushtits, and nuthatches. Waterfowl like mallards and widgeons can also be seen during this season. The best parks for birdwatching during the colder months are Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest, Redwood Park, Surrey Nature Centre, Fleetwood Urban Forest Park and Surrey Lake.

So grab a Field Guide, a pair of binoculars and your camera and get birding.

If you’d like to take advantage of one of Surrey’s free monthly Birding Walks, then contact 604-502-6065 or naturecentre@surrey.ca