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Fish, Birds and Wildlife

Much of Burnaby is inhabited by fish, birds and wildlife. Some of these animals are locally abundant and live here year-round, while others migrate through the City seasonally or opportunistically.

In the City, interactions between people and the natural environment often create challenges for wildlife. While the responsibility to protect fish, birds and wildlife is regulated at the provincial and federal level, the City of Burnaby plays a management role in protecting fish, birds, wildlife and their habitat.

Otters at Deer Lake

Habitat Management


The City of Burnaby has many waterways that are home to various species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and aquatic insects. City work and development around fish habitat falls under the jurisdiction of municipal, provincial and federal governments, and must adhere to best management practices to protect water quality and fish.

Fish at Risk

The City of Burnaby is home to many species of salmon, crayfish, lamprey and other aquatic life as well as amphibians and reptiles that inhabit freshwater areas. A few documented species at risk have also been found to inhabit Burnaby’s waterways, notably the Pacific water shrew, red-legged frog, painted turtle, and Nooksack Dace. Protection and management of species at risk is implemented for all operational and development projects where habitat is identified.

Can I Go Fishing in Burnaby?

Opportunities to do recreational fishing in Burnaby do exist. Deer Lake is stocked on an annual basis by the provincial Ministry of the Environment. Fishing is not permitted in the Brunette River between the Cariboo Dam and Cariboo Road, and in all tributaries to the Brunette River.

To report a fishing violation call the Department of Fisheries and Oceans at the following numbers:


The City of Burnaby has many green spaces and parks that are home to a variety of local and migratory birds. Urban development around existing natural and forested areas falls under the jurisdiction of the provincial government, and must adhere to best management practices to protect raptors, migratory and song birds, eggs and nests.

For more information on Best Management Practices for development around raptor and other bird nests, see the following provincial documents:

To remove or modify nest trees, permission and a written permit must be obtained from the Ministry of Environment's Permit & Authorization Service Bureau. A federal permit may also be required under the Migratory Birds Convention Act regulations.

The City of Burnaby is home to a number of documented bird species at risk, most notably the great blue heron.

Many residents and visitors to Burnaby enjoy bird watching and bird feeding activities.

In Burnaby, it is illegal to feed pigeons and other birds in a park.


The City of Burnaby is home for many species of wildlife including bear, deer, coyote, beaver and squirrels. Viewing wildlife within an urban area can be a wonderful experience, but sometimes a nuisance or a safety concern. The province is responsible for wildlife management and conservation concerns, and provides information to residents to reduce human-animal conflict.

The following information may be useful for some human-wildlife interactions in Burnaby.

If you observe dangerous wildlife in an urban area involved in any of the following:
  • Accessing garbage or other human supplied food sources
  • Wildlife that cannot be easily scared off
  • Dangerous wildlife is in a public location like a city park or school during daylight hours
  • Cougar or wolf is seen in a urban area

Report the above to a BC Conservation Officer at the 24 hour, Toll Free Call Centre: 1-877-952-7277

Report coyotes displaying aggressive or threatening behaviour anywhere in British Columbia immediately to the Ministry of Environment's Call Centre: 1-800-663-9453.

For more information about nuisance wildlife issues and the Conservation Officer Service, check the following websites:


Beavers are found throughout the City of Burnaby where aquatic habitat is available. Prime beaver habitat is generally found on slower moving sections of stream and rivers, and on quiet shores of lakes and ponds where muddy banks and bottoms provide good construction medium.

In human populated areas, the concentration of beavers inhabiting typical flood plain areas results in more frequent beaver related problems. These problems generally relate to flooding of private property, roadways and other structures. They also impact vegetation typically found in aquatic areas, such as trees and shrubs, used for food and dam construction. Impacts to vegetation and stream water levels can result in reduced habitat value for fish that require shade and access to areas upstream.

The City manages beavers only to reduce or prevent flooding and other damage to roads and structures. The City provides protection for beavers where they can exist without impacts to infrastructure. These protected spaces are typically natural areas where some flooding can be tolerated.

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