Birdies and Birdwatching at Victoria’s Cordova Bay

The Pond on 17, Cordova Bay Golf Course, Victoria BC

The 17th hole at Cordova Bay Golf Course. (Image: Cordova Bay Golf Course)

Once ranked alongside the razing of rain forests as an ecologically hostile activity, golf has embraced the green movement with the zeal of the converted. In the first in a series profiling Canada’s greenest courses, we look at Victoria’s Cordova Bay Golf Course’s winning combination of birdies and birdwatching.

 

With the Pacific Ocean nearby and a setting that includes a creek and a 60-acre forest, Victoria’s popular Cordova Bay Golf Course has always attracted an astonishing variety of land and sea birds.

So focusing on creating an even more inviting bird habitat capable of nurturing even rare species seemed the obvious next step at the Bill Robinson-designed layout. “It was a way to both engage the public and do something environmentally significant,” says superintendent Dean Piller. “The birds have benefited life here in Cordova Bay in so many ways.”

An assortment of nesting boxes was strategically placed around the property, as well as feeders to help birds survive the winter at a course open year-round. And every spring the larger ponds are stocked with rainbow trout to attract birds of prey. From about 60 different bird species routinely seen at the course several years ago, the count has now risen to more than 70—from Cormorants and Blue Herons to Barn Swallows and Bald Eagles.

Best of all, the presence of so many birds has eliminated the need to use insecticides anywhere on the course.

“The birds are insect-eating machines,” says Piller, who conducts birdwatching tours of the property twice a year. “We haven’t lost any turf from insect damage in years.”

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