Northern Vancouver Island is home to an abundant population of black bears. While bears hibernate in the winter, it is not uncommon to observe them during the spring and summer. Often sighted picking salmon berries or lazily grazing hillsides for lush shoots and grass, black bear viewing is a welcomed experience by many. Every fall, black bears emerge from the forests, drawn to estuaries and river edges to feast on spawning Pacific salmon.
Guided nature tours also provide a unique opportunity for insight into the life of coastal bears. Join professional naturalists on a journey into the depths of British Columbia’s remote coastal wilderness. The experience invites sightings of black bears, grizzly bears, and other coastal wildlife, just enough to hint at the life of these remarkable animals and the beautiful region in which they reside. Choose your bear watching tour today!
Opportunities to view black bears locally exist. Watch these powerful animals fish at the mouth of the Keogh River or along the Quatse River trail during August and September. Remember that bears are wild animals and should not be approached too closely, disturbed or disrupted. Self guided bear viewing is done at one’s own risk. Be bear aware.
Port Hardy is located within a major flyway for thousands of species of migratory birds. From boreal dwellers to seabirds, shorebirds and birds of prey, there is excellent opportunity for bird watchers. Watersheds throughout Northern Vancouver Island provide critical habitat to many species, serving as breeding grounds and nurseries, foraging grounds, and providing refuge from predators and the elements. To a birders delight, local forests, lakes and river systems, estuaries, and the coastal shoreline and ocean waters are alive with species throughout the year.
The nearby Scott Islands are a protected area, and are considered critical habitat for breeding seabirds, including the tufted puffin, and acts as primary habitat for more than 70,000 species of seabirds including several species Auklets and Petrels.
Every summer the waters off Port Hardy come alive. Increasing sunlight drives plankton production that form the base of one of the most productive food webs in the world. Huge schools of small fish forage on the plankton, providing food for Pacific salmon on their way to their home stream. Sea birds, marine mammals and other wildlife are drawn to the area to forage and socialize. From Late-May to the end of September, sightings of orcas, humpbacks, minke and grey whales, seals and sea lions and endless marine birds are sure to provide an experience of a life time. Visitors to Port Hardy can join a whale watching trip or wildlife viewing tour or try land-based viewing.
Marine wildlife encounters are an exciting bonus when spending time on the water. Please familiarize with the Be Whale Wise guidelines. Regulated by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Be Whale Wise Guidelines are set as a standard of practice for responsible wildlife viewing, ensuring the safety of both boaters and wildlife.