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British Columbia's coastlines provide important wintering habitat for birds. They also fall within the Pacific Flyway, a major route for migratory birds that extends from Alaska and the Canadian North to South America. Millions of birds rely on BC's coasts to rest, feed, and nest. Many of the areas that are important for coastal birds are also popular for human recreational activities.

Recreational activities can disturb waterbirds while they nest, rest, and fuel up for migration. Disturbances can displace waterbirds from preferred habitats, disrupt important foraging and breeding behaviour, and increase energy expenditure when birds should be resting.

Preventing disturbances to coastal waterbirds helps reduce negative impacts on bird populations. Here are a few easy ways you can prevent disturbances to coastal waterbirds:

  • Give coastal waterbirds space.
  • Keep your dog on a leash in coastal areas with lots of birds, especially around migration time.
  • When boating, surfing, or paddle boarding, avoid concentrations of birds on the water.
  • Tell your friends about the impacts of disturbances to coastal waterbirds!


The BC Coastal Disturbance Project is a program of Bird Studies Canada in collaboration with partners, supporters, and volunteers.



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