Brant Geese now migrating through Parksville in huge numbers


WACH: A natural wonder is wowing wildlife enthusiasts on the shores of Oceanside right now. Thousands of Brant Geese are descending on the area on their annual migration to nesting grounds in Alaska.

It’s a sight that sends Sandra Gray’s heart soaring.

“They’re here,” said the Errington wildlife enthusiast excitedly, seeing a flock of Brant Geese in her scope.

“If you have a scope and if you’re interested in birding it’s a feast for the eyes as well as for the birds,” said Gray.

The black-banded, loudly chatting Brant Geese are arriving by the thousands to feed on the nutrition-rich shores of Parksville-Qualicum Beach.

“It’s just a thrill to see them,” said Rick Schortinghuis of the Victoria Natural History Society. “We come up here every year to see the geese because they’re coming through. I’ve been doing this for 20 years.”

“And they’ll come within maybe 10 feet of me,” said artist Dan Gray. “Just chattering and moving along and it’s exceptional for you.”

The Brant stop here every spring on their migratory route north to Alaska and the Northwest Territories.

They arrive every year after the herring spawn, the fish lay layers of their eggs.

Fish on area beaches provides the extra layer of fat the geese need to get them to their finish line.

The bird, once hunted here, are now the subject of scopes of cameras instead of guns, and their numbers are in the thousands ? reflecting a healthy population.

“These are promising signs,” said Gray, a volunteer with the Arrowsmith Naturalists. “Let’s hope the numbers continue to increase and people can appreciate the wildlife that comes through and what it all represents.”

March 19 marks the beginning of the annual Brant Wildlife Festival, which over five weeks celebrates the return of the geese and draws tourists for a supernatural experience that you really can’t find anywhere else.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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