Sandhill Cranes are one of the Reifel Sanctuary's most beautiful birds, gracefully scanning the waters for fish and other delicacies.
Spanning over 740 acres of land, the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary is one of the crown jewels of the Delta region which sits on the southern arm of the Fraser River encompassing the north-westerly half of Westham Island alongside the Strait of Georgia.
Once owned by George C. Reifel and his family, the land was bought in 1927 and consisted of a successful brewery, real estate business but was also a large sugar beet farm. During the Reifel family's time on the farm many dykes and causeways were constructed creating new habitats for birds. In 1960 the family leased the property to the British Columbia Waterfowl Society as a bird sanctuary. In 1972 the land was sold to the government where it was permanently established as the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary and the site where the family's farm was once located was designated the Alaksen National Wildlife Area.
Today, the Sanctuary is a popular bird watching locale with hiking trails, bird blinds, lookouts and a gift shop with wide ranging habitats for hundreds of species of permanent and migratory birds. Species such as Sandhill Cranes, Bald Eagles and Owls nest and raise their young on the marshlands and dikes while birds such as Lesser Snow Geese, Chickadees, Western Sandpipers and Long-billed Dowitchers can be spotted during their migratory journeys.
As the area is a bird sanctuary, no pets or cycling is permitted. Also, be sure to buy a packet of birdseed (or bring your own) to feed the hundreds of ducks which line the pathways.
Different months of the year bring different migratory bird species:
The George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary is a popular birding site where bird enthusiasts, amateur photographers and visitors can enjoy views, the natural setting and the many birds and animals that call this sanctuary home.
Use the interactive map below to locate and explore the areas around George C. Reifel Migratory Bird SanctuaryThe Sanctuary is located on Westham Island - from the 99 go north on 17, turn west on Ladner Truck Road and then onto River Road. Cross the bridge for the island and then to the end of the road which is the parking lot.
Click the brown GEMS on the map to navigate to the other activities within this region