Photo: Adrian Dorst.

2013 Tofino Shorebird Festival




2013 Schedule of Events:

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

   Designation ceremony for the induction of the Tofino Wah-nah-jus Hilth-hoo-is Mudflats into the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network.
11:00 am – 1:00 pm, Tofino Mudflats (accessed through the Darwin’s Café in the Tofino Botanical Gardens), No charge.

   16th Annual Tofino Shorebird Festival
Opening Reception & Guest Presentation“Breeding Strategies of Arctic Shorebirds” 
with Bamfield Shorebird Researcher Shanti Davis
Darwin’s Café in the Tofino Botanical Gardens.
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Appetizers and opening reception; 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm Presentation
$10 suggested donation 

Every summer millions of shorebirds undertake incredible migrations from southern wintering areas to the Arctic tundra. Once there, the race is on! In a brief summer season, which may only last a few months, shorebirds must find a territory, find a mate, and raise their young, facing many challenges along the way. From spectacular displays to sneaky sex lives, shorebirds have evolved a number of fascinating strategies to maximize their reproductive success in the highly productive but often unpredictable Arctic environment. 





For the last eight years, Shanti has been studying birds as a field biologist for the Canadian Wildlife Service, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the United States Geological Survey, and Ducks Unlimited, as well as three seasons working for Quark Expeditions as a marine biologist and zodiac guide in Antarctica. Her work has brought her to many remote areas, from Arctic Canada and Norway, to Bering Sea islands in Alaska, to Baja California, Mexico. For three years, her research focused on shorebirds in the Arctic, where she studied the breeding and migration ecology of Arctic shorebirds on the North Slope and in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta of Alaska. She is currently finishing an M.Sc. thesis studying the migration of Sabine's gulls, showing their Pacific migration from the Canadian High Arctic to the coast of Peru. Shanti lives in Bamfield and spends her time enjoying the scenery and wildlife of Barkley Sound!

Saturday May 4th, 2013

   Rocky Intertidal Shorebird Walk at Kwisitis
With Pacific Rim National Park Ranger Pete Clarkson
9:00 am – 11:00 am; Meet at Kwisitis Centre, Pacific Rim Nat’l Park Reserve. No charge, but you must purchase a Park Visitor Pass (available in the parking lot).
Join Pete Clarkson on a walk through lush rainforests to several rocky islets home to Black Oystercatchers, Black Turnstones, and Rock Sandpipers. Please wear appropriate shoes and bring your daypack with binos, spotting scopes, water, and a snack.

   Birding by Kayak at Grice Bay
With kayak guide and naturalist Andy Murray
2:30 pm – 6:30 pm; COST: $75 (a portion of the proceeds are donated to the Raincoast Education Society and the Tofino Shorebird Festival). Please book through Tofino Sea Kayaking at 250-725-4222. Meet at Tofino Sea Kayaking at 320 Main St., Tofino. 

This three-hour sea kayaking tour will take you on a journey through the expansive Grice Bay mudlfats of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve to shorebird habitats only accessible by water. Experience this unique birding opportunity along the shores of ancient coastal rainforests of giant Western Redcedars, Sitka Spruce, and Western Hemlocks. Sea kayaking experience is not necessary. You will be in double kayaks, so you can alternate with your partner in paddling and birdwatching!

   Guided Voyage to Cleland Island Seabird Colony with Warden Pete Clarkson
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
$65 incl. tax per person. Please book through Jamie’s Whaling, Tofino (606 Campbell St) at 1-800-667-9913 or
Cleland Island Ecological Reserve is the best spot in the region for seabirds, where we often see spectacular Tufted Puffins, Marbled Murrelets, Rhinoceros Auklet, and Black Oystercatchers. This three-hour trip is lead by Cleland Island Warden Pete Clarkson.

   "Shorebirds of the Cretaceous" with Lisa Buckley
7:30 pm – 8:30 pm; Darwin’s Café in the Tofino Botanical Gardens 
$5 suggested donation

Birds and dinosaurs shared our planet from the Late Jurassic Period to the Cretaceous Period, from approximately 150 million years ago to 65 million years ago. Although birds have a long evolutionary history, there is little information known about the full diversity of birds from the Cretaceous Period on a global scale. While there are exceptionally well preserved body fossils of birds from the Cretaceous of China, the same type of fossil preservation has not been found from the Cretaceous of North America. What is available in both Asia and North America are preserved trackways of Cretaceous shorebirds. Avian ichnology (the study of bird footprints and traces) involves documenting and identifying the many different types of footprint shapes and structures left by birds. By studying the diverse record of fossil footprints from shorebirds, and comparing these fossils to modern shorebird tracks and traces, we can learn more about the diversity and life-habits of shorebirds from the Cretaceous Period.







Lisa Buckley is Curator and Collections Manager of the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre (PRPRC) in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, the most comprehensive research collection of Mesozoic marine and terrestrial vertebrates from British Columbia. Much of British Columbia’s record of terrestrial vertebrates (dinosaurs, birds, and reptiles) comes from fossilized footprints and trackways. Lisa’s main research interest is in fossil bird footprints from the Mesozoic (time of the dinosaurs) and Cenozoic (after the dinosaur extinction). Lisa has done field work in several wilderness areas in British Columbia and in Asia, and is involved in several research projects on identifying and analyzing fossil bird footprints. Lisa is also a full-time doctoral candidate with the University of Alberta Department of Biological Sciences. Lisa received her B.Sc. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in Geology and Zoology, and her M.Sc. from the University of Alberta Department of Biological Sciences. 

Sunday May 5th, 2013

   Building Better Birding Skills on the Tofino Mudflats
With Andy Murray and Adrian Dorst
8:30 am – 10:30 am; Jamie’s Rainforest Inn, 1258 Pacific Rim Hwy. (formerly Clayoquot Orca Lodge)
Free of charge.

This program is great for new and experienced birders as well as anyone interested in the Tofino Mudflats Wildlife Management Area. Learn how to identify and count geese, ducks, shorebirds, raptors and more on the Tofino Mudflats. Bring your binoculars or spotting scope if you have them - but we have plenty to loan out too. For everybody's enjoyment (but especially for the birds and other wildlife), unleashed dogs are not permitted in the Tofino Mudflats Wildlife Management Area. Please leave your pets at home.

Please contact us for more information. Thank you.