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Join us March 31 through April 9 for nearly two weeks of special events, activities, and exhibitions as Parksville Qualicum Beach celebrates nature and welcomes thousands of migrating Brant geese to our shores.
Parksville Qualicum Beach represents the “Brant Capital of Canada,” as the region welcomes thousands of small Brant geese each spring to rest and feed along our shores as the gaggle makes its way from Mexico to Alaska to breed. Formed in 1990 by a tandem of local nature and wildlife advocates, the Brant Wildlife Festival has since served as an annual celebration of not just these traveling geese, but all wildlife on and around Vancouver Island.
While the Festival encourages local residents and visitors alike to admire the Brant geese, it is important to do so from a distance as to not disturb their migratory necessities, primarily resting and regaining their weight. Local restrictions and regulations in place during the migration prevent adults, children or their pets from walking near the geese. To learn more about these regulations, click here.
TIP: The festival typically coincides with the annual herring run, only adding to the natural spectacle as birds, mammals and local fishing boats flood the waters just off the coast of French Creek Marina to catch (or feast on) spawning herring.
The 32nd Annual Brant Wildlife Festival, presented by the Nature Trust of British Columbia, kicks off on March 31 and runs through April 9, 2023, with additional activities and events on April 14, 15, and 16.
The Brant Wildlife Festival consists of a series of special events throughout its duration, including birding outings, performances, educational workshops, exhibitions, and other activities. Below are a few of the signature events not to be missed during this year’s festival:
The McMillan Arts Centre (The MAC) will host a special digital media exhibit in honor of the Brant Wildlife Festival in their Cloakroom Gallery. The Centre is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and is closed Mondays. More details.
Be amazed as the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre releases a rehabilitated eagle back into the wild at one of the Brant Wildlife Festival’s most inspirational events. The centre will be open 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the release occurring at 2:00 p.m. sharp. More details.
Join other animal lovers at French Press Coffee Roasters for a series of short wildlife and conservation documentaries created by BC-based filmmakers. Tickets are $10 per person (children 3 and under are free). More details.
Now in its 30th year, this arts show and competition is hosted at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre and is considered one of Canada’s most popular wildlife wood carving competitions. More details.
Throughout the festival, several local organizations will be hosting special demonstrations, tours and other activities that showcase the region’s natural surroundings and wildlife. These include:
For a full calendar of Brant Wildlife Festival events and activities, click here.
Frequently Asked Questions
The 32nd Annual Brant Wildlife Festival will be held from March 31 through April 8, 2023, with select additional activities available April 14, 15, and 16.
The Brant Wildlife Festival is hosted in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region of Vancouver Island. Events during the festival are hosted at multiple local businesses and institutions, including the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, Deep Bay Marine Field Station, McMillan Arts Centre, Qualicum Beach Museum and other venues.
Each spring, thousands of Brant geese fly from Mexico to the Strait of Georgia off the shores of Parksville Qualicum Beach, where they rest and feed on eelgrass, green algae and herring roe prior to continuing their journey to Alaska and the Canadian Arctic where they nest and breed. The arrival of the Brant geese typically coincides with the herring spawning season, when herring roe is abundant in the waters just off the shores of Parksville and Qualicum Beach.
There are numerous locations throughout Parksville, Qualicum Beach and surrounding communities that are ideal for viewing Brant geese as they feed along the shore. Among the top bird watching locations is Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, which sees the geese use the nearby beaches for their spring migration. Another popular viewing area is the Seaside Nature Park located on the western end of the Qualicum Beach waterfront.
NOTE: It is important to view the geese from a safe distance as to not disturb them while they are resting or feeding. Disturbing the geese during this crucial time could result in them flying off prematurely and not properly resting or eating enough to sustain their long journey north. As such, people, children and dogs are not permitted on the beaches near the Brant geese during this time, with additional leash requirements for dogs per the Parksville-Qualicum Beach Wildlife Management Area.
Consult our guide for more insights and information on bird watching spots along the Parksville Qualicum Beach Wildlife Management Area Bird Trail.
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