Black bear foraging at low tide

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Natural History Tours in Tofino

Most of the whale watching and sea kayaking tour providers do a good job of providing a solid background of Clayoquot Sound's cultural and natural history. Alternatively, you could try the non-profit Raincoast Education Society, described below.

Raincoast Education Society

The mission of the Raincoast Education Society (RES) is to shape an environmentally sensitive future for the Clayoquot and Barkley Sound region through education and community stewardship.

They offer tours and educational programs for groups of all sizes. Their office is located at the Clayoquot Field Station in the Tofino Botanical Gardens. Please contact the society directly for more information:

Mail: PO Box 815, Tofino BC,    V0R 2Z0
Tel: (250) 725-2560
Fax: (250) 725-2435
Email: res@island.net

Birdwatching

Clayoquot Sound is situated on one of the major flyways for migrating birds on the west coast.  Thousands of shorebirds utilize the vast mudflats and beaches in the area as vital feeding and resting grounds. Of the estimated 150 species of resident birds in Clayoquot Sound, you might see Black Oystercatchers, Killdeers, Sandpipers, Snow Geese, Plovers and Snipes.

The Tofino Mudflats, located between the peninsula and Meares Island were designated an official migratory bird reserve giving protected status to this critical habitat.

Bald Eagles in Tofino and Ucluelet

Bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) are common in Tofino and the surrounding areas. If you are out on the water with a whale watching charter, you will likely make a brief stop adjacent to a local bald eagle aerie (nest site). This aerie has been occupied for about 20 years, reportedly by the same couple. Two or three chicks are born yearly, and if you are lucky enough to be witnessing this in the spring you may catch sight of the young eaglets poking their heads above the 2-metre wide nest.

If you are really interested in seeing a lot of eagles, head out to the regional landfill in-between Tofino and Ucluelet where there are regularly up to 50 bald eagles searching for easy food. This is also a great spot to find eagle feathers, but do not try to bring eagle feathers over the USA border: an eagle feather law in the USA prohibits their possession unless you are a Native American. The consequence for bringing home your treasure could be as much as a $25,000 fine.