Birds continue to be on the radar of many in Abbotsford, a positive sign for tourism in the city.
Kristina William spotted a family of barred owls last week on her daily hike around Fishtrap Creek. She returned with her camera the next day and found herself joined by three others people sporting miniature binoculars.
William, a wildlife photographer, did the only natural thing to do.
“I climbed into the trees,” she said. “[The owl] was pretty photogenic.”
The city’s tourism board has been working on ways to grow the hobby in an effort to drive more tourism revenue to local businesses.
Chris Blanchette, a manager at Tourism Abbotsford, said the city has spoken with birdwatching experts to find ways bring other enthusiasts.
“It’s definitely a niche areas that we have our eyes on,” he said. “It’s still in its infancy.”
The board has been working to highlight different hotspots and distribute advertisment to hotels, and is considering placing signage in the city’s parks.
Local birdwatching expert Rick Toochin says Abbotsford is the perfect location to grow the pastime. He says the city is unparrelled for watching tens of thousands of cackling goose migrate every year.
“Abbotsford is excellent; it’s in a very strategic migration spot,” Toochin said. “This is the best-kept secret in birding. How do people not know about this?”