Birding Tours

Pacific Rainforest Tours Offers Birding Tours in the Vancouver area and on Vancouver Island

Bird with Christopher Stephens of Pacific Rainforest Adventure Tours!

Pacific Rainforest Adventure Tours offers the best of Western Canada birding through guided birding tours on Vancouver Island and in the Vancouver area. Our birding tours provide a chance to enjoy great views of the most sought after North American birds! Our Field Ornithologist and birding tour leader Christopher Stephens provides a first rate Canadian birding experience for all skill levels with the chance to see some of the most sought after birds in Canada.

Based on Vancouver Island, our bird tours offer unparalleled opportunities to view BC’s western North America specialties, add lifers, and learn about North American birds. We offer morning, full day and customized Vancouver area and Vancouver Island, BC bird tours. Over 200 bird species occur on Eastern Vancouver Island and the mainland! Our Canadian birdwatching tours cover a wide range of habitats thanks to the great diversity of birdlife that supports a rich avifauna.

Our tours focus on visits to key Vancouver area and Vancouver Island, BC birding hotspots that allow excellent views of representative Western North American birds including forest birds, wetland species, grassland songbirds, shorebirds, coastal waterbirds, woodland residents and marsh birds. Tours focus on finding a high species total while taking the time to make sure each sighting is memorable and interesting as you discover birding on Canada’s west coast. Christopher’s focus on interpretation provides the chance to learn about the ecology and characteristics of each migratory or resident Vancouver Island bird and how to find and identify it in the future.

Birding in Canada offers the chance to see a wide range of birds including summer breeding species residents and migrants. Our tours cover habitats that are internationally recognized for bird numbers and avian species diversity. Georgia Basin specialties on Eastern Vancouver Island seen include Hutton’s Vireo, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Anna’s Hummingbird, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Black Turnstone and Thayer’s Gull. There are spectacular Brant, shorebird, and sea duck migrations on the water, while diverse and unique songbird populations define our coastal and upland forests.
Due to the mild climate, our Canadian bird tours offer the chance to view an excellent diversity of resident species year round on land and in the water.

Your Canadian bird tour leader, Christopher Stephens, Msc., is a field ornithologist and expert birder with over 18 years birding experience in the Vancouver area and on Vancouver Island. He completed field and academic studies of the Swainson’s Thrush in many of the areas where we offer tours for his MSc in Environment and Management degree at Royal Roads University. He also writes nature articles and enjoys sharing the latest BC bird research findings.

Christopher’s background includes habitat assessments, interpretation and birding in the Georgia Basin, Okanagan Valley and Columbia Basin. His areas of interest include avian ecology, ecotourism, habitat use, physical adaptations and distribution.

In 2008, Christopher was one of 6 national winners of a Doug Tarry Bird Study Award from Bird Studies Canada, and he has worked to promote wetland conservation in Parksville. He currently volunteers as the caretaker for the Little Qualicum Estuary to Nanoose Bay Global Important Bird Area. Christopher draws on his knowledge, passion for birds and field skills to provide an unparalleled West Coast birding tour experience.

No matter what your skill level, you will experience Vancouver Island birding at its best with our experienced field ornithologist Christopher Stephens. Birding is an increasingly popular form of wildlife viewing and the Vancouver area and Vancouver Island, BC is one of the best places to either start as a beginner, or find those target western specialties as an expert birder. Forest birds, wetland birds, estuary birds and ocean birds are abundant in this area and our guide knows where to find them.

Half day (4 hour) private guided birding tours depart morning and afternoons from the Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Nanaimo areas on Vancouver Island.
Price $85.00 per person Cdn. plus GST
for 2 or more participants, or $170.00 plus tax for an individual tour.


Full day birding tours are $155.00 per person Cdn. plus GST for 2 or more participants, or $310.00 plus tax for an individual tour from Parksville Qualicum Beach or Nanaimo areas on Vancouver Island.


Full day birding tours in the Vancouver area are $568.00 plus 5% Tax for 1 to 4 participants.


Customized bird tours and tours from and to other areas in B.C. are available upon request.


All tours are private. Only people that arrive together will be included in any tour. All tours are conducted with 2 meter physical distancing protocol. When we arrive at the destination we will conduct the experience with physical distancing that will allow interaction and appreciation of the surroundings. There will be no group combinations or add-on of participants.  Do not go on tour if you, or someone with whom you have been in contact, are sick or are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms (such as cough, fever, shortness of breath).



Book or inquire by email


To book or inquire by phone, call 250-248-3667



Recent comments:

July 25, 2020

I had a great birding morning with Christopher. He’s very
knowledgeable about both birds and the area. I’ve birded for 25 years
and learned a lot from him. And, he’s got a quirky sense of humour
that I really enjoyed.

John S



July 4th, 2020.
Here are some notes and photos from the Saturday bird and tidepool tour with a family of 4.
We visited a River Estuary, a Tidepool Beach and a Creek Estuary, viewing a variety of coastal waterbirds, shorebirds, songbirds, birds of prey, fish and crustaceans.
Our itinerary showcased a sample of BC’s amazing wildlife species that can be seen within a small geographical area near Parksville thanks to our province’s incredible diversity of natural habitats including tidepools and mudflats.
At the River Estuary, we observed Western and Least Sandpipers foraging on biofilm on the mudflats, while Northern Flickers, Belted Kingfishers, Bald Eagles, Turkey Vultures, Swainson’s Thrush, a Downy Woodpecker, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Barn Swallows and Violet-green swallows foraged and perched in the riparian zones.
The Tideppol Beach provided views of a fascinating array of marine life characteristic of the intertidal zones and lower subtidal zones. 
Species seen included the Penpoint Gunnel, Tidepool Sculpin, Pacific Staghorn Sculpin, Northern Clingfish, which can hold up to 150 times their weight ( and Kelp Spider Crab, as well as the remarkable Flat Porcelain Crab that adapts to the intertidal niche through a flattened build that allows easy movement underneath rocks.(
Leather Star, Purple Sea Star, Green Shore Crab, Black Clawed Crab, a variety of hermit crabs, shrimp and limpets and sponges were also present. 
The Creek Estuary offered views of Killdeer and a surprise sighting of a Greater Yellowlegs catching and swallowing a small fish, appearing to be a juvenile sculpin species. Purple Martins, Belted Kingfishers and numerous Glaucous-winged Gulls and a Bald Eagle were also present. The appearance of many Western Terrestrial (Wandering) Garter Snakes along the breakwater was also a highlight. 

July 6, 2019


I’m writing to thank you for our fantastic birding day with Chris last Saturday. We were so impressed with how Chris tailored the day to us. He planned it so that we went to several different habitats with a little rest in between each. There wasn’t too much walking but there were lots of birds. Mom really appreciated how helpful and attentive he was and we both appreciated his knowledge, expertise and engaging nature. He was just a lovely person to spend a day with!

To put the icing on the cake, we got to see a rare bird which was very exciting for all of us. Not that Chris arranged that (?!) but we got to see what happens when a rare bird is sighted. It was lots of fun.

We had a wonderful day that I’m happy to say was the highlight of our whole trip.

Thanks again,
April 26, 2016

Hi Gary,

I just wanted to thank you for arranging a delightful day of birding with Christopher. He’s incredibly knowledgeable in a number of areas, passionate about birds and the environment, and he has a great sense of humor. The trip was everything we hoped for and a whole lot more! We’ll be using your services again, hopefully on an annual basis!

Take care!

Larry Severtson
July 4, 2015

Dear Gary and Ronda

Now that I have returned to my home in New Zealand following a very full three weeks in Canada (professional conference and holiday), I have found some time to write to say how much I enjoyed the three days that I spent with Christopher.

Christopher’s knowledge on birds, their identification and how they relate to their environment is extensive. He not only taught me a huge amount, but inspired me with his enthusiasm for everything to do with birds and natural history in general. We saw some beautiful and interesting birds, most of which I would have missed or been unable to identify had I been on my own, and I was delighted that he he was able to show me some very diverse plant communities, ranging from the riparian and rain shadow woodlands around Parksville to the subalpine habitats at Paradise Meadows.

I also found Christopher a very likeable person and great fun to be with, so overall this made for a happy and memorable three days. I would certainly want to use his guiding services again if I visited Vancouver Island and would have no hesitation in recommending him to others.

Thank you for making this possible.

Kind regards

Paul Maurice

“Outstanding birding with Christopher”

“We did a guided birding trip with Christopher Stephens in December 2014. As we are East Coast birders, we are not very familiar with the West Coast-specific species. Christopher did an amazing job, taking us to great locations to find the most birds, and gearing the trip to what we wanted out of the tour. Best of all, not only did he find the birds and identify them for us, he was very thorough in telling us the identifying characteristics so that we can identify these birds ourselves. He is a Class-A bird expert.

Christopher did an awesome job of showing us the birds, and educating us on becoming better birders. Thanks Christopher for helping us get about 60 species, and over 20 life birds – harlequin duck and American dipper being two special high points. Not to mention tips on other places to go on our own, where we got even more life birds. “

Christine Kelly and Peter Sacks, New York


“Thank you very much for a wonderful day on Sunday. Colleen, Paul, Greg and myself thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with you spotting birds. We were very impressed with how knowledgeable you are and we loved your enthusiasm and sense of humor. We look forward to spending a day with you again in May.”

Sue Candy, Nanaimo BC


“Fabulous day”

Reviewed 26 June 2014

Spent a whole day birding with Christopher who’s knowledge is second to none. Saw 58 species in total but it wasn’t just a case of finding a bird and on to the next, we were also given plenty of information about habitat, breeding habits, food sources and so on. Christopher clearly has a passion for birds and a wry sense of humour to match. Thoroughly recommend.


May 7, 2014.

Hullo folks, thank you for providing us with a bird guide for the first couple of days on your Island, in retrospect, it would have been wise to book him for a few more days. However, with the benefit of hindsight,things would always be easy. Does he have a gift!
We have used bird guides in Poland Norway,Turkey, Spain, Morocco and Madeira and he is without doubt the most gifted.
On occasions over the last two days, what he has demonstrated has been incredible and he is humble, which is unusual for a talented person.
He has a great future. Any visiting birder would be foolhardy not to use him, he definitely has a gift for identifying and finding birds.
Not to mention taking extra time to find the birds.

He is remarkable.
Waine Foster, Sue Edwards.



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8 Responses to “Birding Tours”

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