Delta is perhaps best known for its wetland, estuarine and upland habitats that support the largest wintering populations of waterfowl, shorebirds and birds of prey in Canada. Up to five million migratory birds use the Fraser River Estuary and Delta as a vital stopover on the Pacific Flyway. Boundary Bay and its adjacent uplands represent the most significant migratory waterfowl and shorebird habitat on Canada's Pacific Coast. For information about birds in Delta, view the Birds in Delta and Experience Birding in Delta guides.
As a result, the lands and waters of the Fraser River Estuary have received a number of noteworthy designations:
- Boundary Bay, Roberts Bank and the South Arm Marshes are provincial Wildlife Management Areas
- The Alaksen National Wildlife Area is located on Delta's Westham Island
- The estuary was declared an Important Bird Area in 2001 and is recognized as the most significant out of 597 such sites in Canada
- The Fraser River foreshore and selected provincial and federally owned lands were designated as a Hemisphere Reserve in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network in 2004
Also within Delta is the George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary, one of Canada's top bird watching areas.
Raptors and most other birds are protected in British Columbia under Section 34 of the BC Wildlife Act. The bird nesting season is generally from March 1–August 31. Some raptors, including eagles, nest as early as February 1.
Eggs and raptor nest trees are protected year round under BC Wildlife Act. If you wish to remove or modify a raptor nest tree or a bird nest with eggs/young, you must seek permission and obtain a written permit from the Ministry of Environment’s Permit & Authorization Service Bureau. You may also require a federal permit under the Migratory Birds Convention Act and should check with Environment Canada.
Some species of birds are considered game birds. The annual Hunting Regulation Synopsis outlines hunting seasons and bag limits.