Wildlife in Burnaby

Learn about Burnaby's wildlife, what to do when you encounter a wild animal and how to report a sighting.

We're lucky to be surrounded by so much beauty—mountains, trails, lakes and parks. Naturally, we share this abundance with many types of wildlife, including fish, birds, beavers and more.

The City has many environmentally sensitive areas. Learn more about how we protect wildlife and manage their habitats.

Fish

Many of Burnaby's waterways are home to fish, amphibians, reptiles and aquatic insects. Some species at risk, like the pacific water shrew, red-legged frog, painted turtle and Nooksack Dace, also inhabit our waterways. We protect water quality and species by implementing rules around operational and development projects near the habitats.

Recreational fishing

Burnaby offers some beautiful spots for fishing. But ensure you remain on the boardwalks and formal trails or fishing areas.

Birds

Our city has many green spaces and parks that are home to various local and migratory birds.

Burnaby is also home to many species at risk, including the great blue heron. Any development around existing natural and forested areas that require removing or modifying nest trees needs written approval from the Permit and Authorization Bureau under the Ministry of Environment.

For more information on best practices for development around raptors, songbirds and migratory bird nests, explore the guidelines below.

Also, remember that it's illegal to feed pigeons, geese and other birds in parks.

Beavers

Beavers are present throughout the city, especially on slower moving sections of streams and rivers, lakeshores and ponds.

Beaver dams create lush wetlands and ponds that form habitats for fish, ducks, frogs and other plants and animals. However, beaver dams can also cause flooding, thereby damaging crops, property and grazing lands.

They also impact vegetation such as trees and shrubs, which they use for food and dam construction. This affects the fish habitats that require shade and access to areas upstream.

The City doesn't interfere with beaver activity on public lands, where they don't pose any threat to the public or property. We only manage and control beaver activity where there's a risk of flooding and other damage to roads and structures.

Wildlife

Burnaby is home to many wildlife species, including bears, coyotes and deer. Viewing wildlife within an urban setting can be a wonderful experience. But wildlife can also be a nuisance or a safety concern.

If you cross paths with wildlife:

  • accessing garbage or other human supplied food
  • that's aggressive or threatening and can't be easily scared off
  • is dangerous, like cougars, wolves, bears etc. and is in a public setting like a city park or school during daylight hours

Immediately report the incident to a BC Conservation Officer:

Call 1-877-952-RAPP (RAPP Line) #7277 (24-hour, toll-free service)

Wildlife in a park

If you come across wildlife—coyotes, cougars or bears—in any of Burnaby's parks, use the following tips to keep yourself and others safe.

  • remain calm and keep the animal in view
  • don't approach or chase the animal
  • appear as large as you can by standing tall with your arms over your head
  • stand your ground–don't run or turn your back
  • pick up small children and pets immediately
  • back away slowly while talking in a loud, confident and clear voice
  • throw sticks and rocks if necessary
  • don't make unnecessary eye contact
  • ensure the animal has a clear path for escape

If a bear makes blowing or snorting noises and then charges and veers off at the last second, this is likely a defensive behaviour, so continue to back away. In case of an attack, fighting back has proven effective in some cases.

    Don't feed wildlife

    When wild animals start relying on human food instead of their natural diet, their health suffers.

    • If you have outdoor garbage containers, ensure they are wildlife-proof. Keep garbage in a shed or garage and use sturdy bins with secure lids.
    • Wait until pickup day before putting out your garbage, rather than the night before (animals often feed at night).
    • If you compost, use a covered composter.
    • Pack any food waste out of parks and wilderness areas and dispose of it properly.
    • Feed pets inside and store pet food inside.
    • Report people who are intentionally feeding wild animals.

    • Do not put out food to attract wildlife to your backyard.
    • Do not intentionally feed wildlife in parks or on vacation.
    • Do not dispose of food waste in uncovered containers.
    • Do not litter, especially on roadways.
    • Never attempt to care for a wild animal at home. It is illegal to keep wildlife without a permit.

    This type of feeding doesn't disrupt natural migration and population patterns, but it carries some risks. Feed only when weather conditions are harsh and follow these tips:

    • To avoid window strikes, set up feeders far from any windows. Window decals also help prevent strikes.
    • Keep cats inside. Collar bells will not keep cats from killing birds.
    • To prevent disease, clean up hulls and disinfect feeders regularly using a 9-to-1 bleach solution.
    • To avoid feeding other species, make sure the feeder is not accessible to squirrels, raccoons, rodents, deer, or bears.

    Nectar feeders provide a food source for hummingbirds in winter, but you must clean them regularly to prevent bacterial growth.

    • Clean feeders with a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water about once a week.
    • Change nectar solution every few days. Ensure it never freezes and can be provided through the winter season.
    • To make nectar, boil water for 2 minutes. Mix sugar (never honey) at a ratio of 1 part sugar to 3 parts water.

    Other wildlife

    You may encounter wildlife in parks that are not dangerous—like beavers, birds, racoons, squirrels and skunks. Regardless, these animals are wildlife and your interaction with them should still be respectful and thoughtful. Don't feed any of these species as over-familiarity and dependence on us may harm them.

    If you see any of these animals in the park, leave them alone and be respectful when viewing them from a distance.

    I found dead wildlife, what do I do?
    To remove from your property, small deceased wild animals can be buried or put in the garbage. For larger animals on private property, you may need to contact a waste removal company for help.

    To remove from streets for public spaces, please call Burnaby SPCA at 604-291-7201.

     

    Dead birds
    Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus from birds to people. Although the virus isn’t transmitted from animals to humans, avoid handling dead birds with your bare hands. If you find a dead bird with a leg band, record the letters and numbers and contact the Ministry of Environment at 1-866-431-2473.

    For more information on West Nile virus, contact HealthLinkBC or the BC Centre for Disease Control.

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