Birding Factoids

459 species
in 46 families

66 of the 246 species 
endemic to 
North America are 
represented here. 
No endemic species. 

    British Columbia
Checklist of British Columbia BirdsLocal EventsTours and GuidesBirders' Bed & BreakfastRare Bird AlertsSpeciality Birds
BC Specialities
(Pause your cursor on the photo to see the species name. Click on the birds for more info... )
Stellar's Jay - BC Provincial bird - Juhanni Kyyro
Photo by Juhanni Kyyro
Or, to see an albino version, click here.
Crested Myna - Photo by Ervio Sian
Photo by Ervio Sian
Spotted Towhee - Photo copyright David Geale
Photo copyright David Geale
Red-breasted Sapsucker - Photo copyright Douglas Herr
Photo copyright Douglas Herr
Skylark - Courtesy of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Courtesy of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (UK)
Pigeon Guillemot - Photo copyright Tina MacDonald
Photo copyright Tina MacDonald
Northwestern Crow - Photo by Marcus Martin
Photo by Marcus Martin
MacGillvray's Warbler - Photo copyright Don DesJardin
Photo copyright Don DesJardin
Rosy Finch - Photo by Marcus Martin
Photo by Marcus Martin
Townsend's Warbler - Photo by J.R.Lyles
Photo by J.R. Lyles
Greater Scaup - highest breeding density - Photo copyright Don DesJardin
Photo copyright Don DesJardin
Northern Hawk-Owl - Photo copyright Alain Hogue
Photo copyright Alain Hogue
Varied Thrush - Photo copyright Peter LaTourrette
Photo copyright Peter LaTourrette
Trumpeter Swan - Photo by Don Baccus
Photo by Don Baccus
Wilson's Warbler - Photo copyright Don Desjardin
Photo copyright Don DesJardin
Red-naped Sapsucker - Photo copyright Marcus Martin
Photo copyright Marcus Martin
Rufous Hummingbird - Photo by Dan True
Photo by Dan True
Brant Geese - Photo copyright Ivan Steenkiste
Photo copyright Ivan Steenkiste
Tree Swallow - Photo copyright Jean Coronel
Photo copyright Jean Coronel
Black Swift - Photo copyright Eladio Fernandez
Photo copyright Eladio Fernandez
    Key to Icons....George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary - the official source for maps,
      admissions and contacting this 850-acre sanctuary on
      Delta's Westham Island, 10 kilometres west of Ladner. The sanctuary is a resting place for thousands of migratory birds on their way south to warmer places in fall and their way back in spring. With three kilometres of hiking trails and a nature house, there is much to see--and hear-- all year long. More than 1.5 million birds pass through here annually (240 species have been spotted)! You may want to check out the Bird View Guest House Bed and Breakfast for a great place to stay while visiting the sanctuary. Another site on the Sanctuary. And another site.
    Key to Icons....George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary - another site about this
      sanctuary located on Westham Island, right at the mouth of the Fraser River. Although hardly wilderness -- Vancouver International Airport is near to the north -- the refuge is home to Canada's biggest population of waterfowl. See also the FindFamilyFun in Vancouver site.
    ....Potential British Columbia IBAs - This is a working list and map of
      potential Important Bird Areas in BC. The process of identifying IBAs in this region is by no means complete. Additional sites that qualify as IBAs will likely be identified and likewise, some of the sites mapped may not qualify as IBAs once a thorough evaluation is completed. Once a site has been formally identified as an IBA the site name is linked to a one-page site summary. Check detailed maps to find information and details about:
      • Kerouard Islands
      • Anthony Island Complex
      • Englefield Bay Islands
      • Hippa Island
      • Tian Bay - Port Louis Area 
      • Frederick Island
      • Langara Island 
      • Lepas Bay Islet
      • Active Pass
      • Duke of Edinburgh Ecological Reserve
      • Tofino Mudflats
      • Scott Islands
      • McFadden Creek Heronry
    ....Wildlife Viewing in British Columbia - this excellent site identifies
      over 60 wildlife viewing sites in BC, with, in most cases,  reference to the type of bird life to be found at each site. Clickable maps show you exactly where the site can be found.
    ....British Columbia Wildlife Watch - provincial wildlife viewing program
      of the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. This site will provide you with detailed information on where, when and how to view the wildlife (birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish and insects) of British Columbia. Also includes bird checklists and regional site information. 
    ....Birding in British Columbia - Site information is available on:
      • North Okanagan
      • Vancouver area
      • Vancouver Island
      Click on the maps to fine more detailed information. Regional checklists are also available.
    ....Birding in Victoria, B.C. - includes some excellent site guides.
    ....Birding Vancouver Island - From genteel Victoria to its rugged 
      northern tip, Vancouver Island has hundreds of spots for birdwatching. Make sure you follow the Birding Details link at the bottom of the page as well. 
    ....Birding the Whiffen Spit - by Tina MacDonald. Happy remembrances
      of a great couple of days of birding and fishing on Vancouver Island (Sooke). A brief site guide.
    ....Birding in British Columbia - includes checklists
    ....Migratory Shorebirds & Water Birds in Victoria, B.C.
      identification of the 70 species of migrants that pass through this area, and links to information on the key Victoria locations to find the migrants. 
    ....Burns Bog Conservation Society (Delta, B.C.) - Greater Sandhill ...
    ....The Columbia Valley Wetlands - By Ellen Zimmerman. The Columbia
      River Marshes remain, for the most part, in their original state and represent an example of a fast disappearing habitat. The wetlands from Windermere Lake to Donald provide important resting and feeding spots for migrating birds as well as nesting areas for countless species of waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds. 
    ....Alaksen, British Columbia - Information Sheet on Ramsar
      Wetlands in Delta, B.C.
    ....Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, British Columbia.
      Nestled in beautiful Kootenay Country, the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area has much to offer both to the dedicated birder and the amateur naturalist alike - kilometres of walking and canoe trails, a full interpretive centre, friendly staff and volunteers, and most of all, awesome wildlife, with a focus on the birds of the wetlands. You should also visit the official website and yet another site on the Creston Valley WMA.
    ....Maplewood Mud Flats - Wildbird Trust of BC - In the four and a half 
      years of its existence, the Trust has had success in establishing the first wildlife sanctuary on Burrard Inlet's north shore. This seventy-five acre site adjoins and helps protect the largest area of salt marsh and mud flats in Burrard Inlet. The creation of a new 5 acre fresh water marsh was recently completed and is a small step towards restoring the small amount of wetland which remains in Burrard Inlet. 
    ....Golden Ears Provincial Park - includes a bird checklist. Golden Ears
      Provincial Park is located in north Maple Ridge, about 48 km east of Vancouver. From its southern boundary, the park extends 55 km northward through mountain wilderness to the southern boundary of Garibaldi Provincial Park.  There are good birding opportunities throughout the park. 
    ....Locations for Birding in Vancouver - Vancouver Natural History 
      Society - The information is summarized from "A Bird Watching Guide to the Vancouver Area", prepared by the Vancouver Natural History Society. Full directions to each location, descriptions of bird watching sites and details of the bird species to be found. Information is provided on 24 locations in and around Vancouver.
    ....Birding in Vancouver Parks - These parks have features devoted
      to birding, including a viewing tower and providing packages of grain to feed the birds.
      • Burnaby Lake (Burnaby)
      • Crippen (Bowen Island)
      • Iona Beach (Richmond)
      • Minnekhada (Coquitlam)
    ....Watching Birds in Vancouver - by Margo Hearne. Vancouver is 
      also beautiful, fringed by snowy mountains and fronting a sky-blue sea. As a birding area, however, it has its own special urban charm. It is on the Pacific Flyway, has many different habitats, and attracts a variety of spring migrants. 
    ....Birding in the Qualicum Beach and Parksville Areas of
      Vancouver Island
    ....Brackendale Eagle Reserve - Every winter, thousands of bald eagles
      congregate on the shores of the rivers surrounding Brackendale to feed on the abundant spawning salmon. Hundreds of eagles at a time can be seen from the river dikes, feeding along sandbars or roosting in nearby cottonwood trees. Two dozen or more in a single tree is not uncommon. Eagle season in Brackendale is from mid- November to mid- February, with prime viewing in December and January. See also the FindFamilyFun in Vancouver site.
    ....Prince George Birding Locations - ..and some of our favorite spots!
      by Jack Bowling. Good birding locations a short drive from downtown Prince George.
    ....Birding in the Kispiox Valley - One of the great mysteries of nature is
      the annual migration of creatures. Here in the Kispiox Valley we not only have the magnificent runs of salmon in the fall, but no less spectacular and magical is the return of dozens of species of birds from winter homes as far away as Central and South America each spring. Without a doubt one of the little known treasures of the sub-boreal forests in northern Canada is the variety of songbirds that make their summer homes here
    ....Birding in Nanaimo - These spots around the Nanaimo area 
      are known for good birding. 
    ....Birding in British Columbia - from OnLine Highways
    ....The Birds of BC - this site provides descriptions of birds commonly
      found in BC, with information about their range and possible locations.
    ....The Swan Lake Bird Sanctuary - Near the community of Vernon in
      north central Okanagan Similkameen, this sanctuary is a haven for birdwatchers.
    ....Vaseux Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary - Located near
      Oliver, BC, this federal reserve is one of Canada's foremost birding areas, housing Tundra and Trumpeter Swans, and Great Horned Owls. Tiny Canyon Wrens inhabit the cliffs away from the lake. See also Vaseux Lake Lodge.
    ....Viewing Sites - Provincial Parks - The provincial parks in the Lower
      Mainland Region are divided into three BC Parks Districts, Garibaldi/Sunshine, Vancouver, and Fraser Valley. Through cooperation with the Districts, at least one park in each District has been signed as a wildlife viewing site. Includes information on 10 provincial parks in the lower mainland, many of which have bird checklists available. 
    ....Dan Bastaja's Birding FAQs (frequently asked questions) - A 
      non-commercial Web site for birding beginners in British Columbia, Canada covering birding basics such as optics, field guides, species, links, clubs and publications and more ...
    ....Birding Vancouver and Vancouver Island - the Land of Loons and
      Loggers - by Stefan Tewinkel and Brigitte Andrew. From September 14th til September 28th 1999 we spent our holidays in British Columbia, Canada and especially Vancouver Island. Altogether we had very good weather and I was able to do some birding, although Brigitte is not so much into birds. We spent most of the time on Vancouver Island trying to get an impression of the wildlife there in September. This report is illlustrated with many photos.
    ....British Columbia Trip Report (with two days in Washington State) 
      June 27 – July 8, 1998 by Bob Machover
    ....1997 Okanagan Weekend Trip Report - by Bryan Gates
      The Okanagan River valley of south central British Columbia is truly unique among Canadian birding habitats. It combines a wide, u-shaped valley filled with lakes and rivers and rich in diversity with mid-elevation mountains — the Okanagan Range of the Cascade Mountains. Cold in winter, the valley experiences some of the hottest summer temperatures in the province. Our birding destinations were the Okanagan Basin and Okanagan Highland Ecosections of this ecoprovince.
    ....British Columbia Trip Report - this commercial trip report covers a 
      tour of BC from May 10, 1997 to May 22, 1997.
    ....British Columbia Trip Reports - an additional 15 BC trip reports are
      available from Blake Maybank's "Birding the Americas: Trip Report and Trip Planning Repository". 

Choose another provinceChoose another countryChoose another continentAdd or change a URL

Top of Page

Tours and Guides

>>>>>> A Birding Pal is not a paid guide, but someone who likes to help out of town visitors. You can become a Birding Pal today! Help someone to enjoy your local birding spots and find a pal to help you when you travel. Click here for British Columbia Birding Pals, or join to be a Birding Pal!
Brown Creeper - Photo copyright Peter LaTourrette
Photo copyright Peter LaTourrette

Fox Sparrow - Photo copyright Robert McDonald

Photo copyright Robert McDonald

Ancient Murrelet - Photo copyright Erik Breden

Photo copyright Erik Breden

Surf Scoter - Photo copyright Peter LaTourrette

Photo copyright Peter LaTourrette
    **..Ornithology Tour with Stubbs Island Tours - Sept. 14 – Sept. 20, 
      2002. The astounding abundance and diversity of birds on Northern Vancouver Island make the area a birder’s paradise. Many bird species are resident to the area. These include remarkable numbers of Bald Eagles. It is in the late summer and early fall however, that the bird life becomes truly extraordinary as winter residents return and migrating visitors alight on the Pacific Flyway.
    **..Autumn Birding with Columbia Mountian Nature Tours - August 30 -
      September 3, 2000. Join internationally acclaimed ornithologist, conservationist and birder Dr. Rob Butler for a fall migration extravaganza. New research has shown that many raptors and song birds migrate south along alpine tundra habitats. The Columbia Mountains are the major massif between the Coast Range and Rockies. Their long, north-south ridges are ideally situated to funnel alpine-migrating birds from Alaska, Yukon and northern British Columbia to the Pacific Northwest.
    **..Blue Heron Ventures - offers guided birdwatching tours in the 
      Shuswap area of central British Columbia.  Sicamous is located along the Trans Canada Highway on Shuswap Lake, north of the Okanagan Valley.  Long before human residents and visitors discovered the attractive climate and features of the Shuswap, birds and other wildlife recognised the value of the area. Shuswap Lake, the Eagle River and the surrounding mosaic of upland and lowland habitats provide a haven for over 250 bird species.
    **..Winter Washington and British Columbia - with Victor Emanuel
      Nature Tours (VENT) The temperate maritime climate and rich food resources of the North Puget Sound region of Washington and British Columbia make it an especially attractive winter home for the myriad birds of prey, diving birds, and waterfowl that return here each year. The high peaks of the Olympic Mountains form a majestic backdrop and create a rainshadow that generally mitigates precipitation in the heart of this excellent birding area. An impressive array of raptors hunt the river deltas along the North Sound. VENT offers nearly 140 tours to over 100 land-based destinations each year and is the largest tour company in the world specializing in birding and natural history.

Choose another provinceChoose another countryChoose another continentAdd or change a URL

Top of Page

Birders' Bed & Breakfast


Bohemian Waxwing - Photo copyright Bob Lane
Photo copyright Bob Lane
Orange-crowned Warbler - Photo copyright Peter Wallach
Photo copyright Peter Wallach
    **..Bird View Guest House Bed and Breakfast - located in Ladner, 
      the oldest community in Delta, B.C. Ladner experiences approximately 1/3 of Vancouver annual rainfall and enjoys its own sunny micro-climate. There's so much to see and do within this spectacular area, as we are situated on the "Pacific Flyway." Bird watchers and hikers will love the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Boundry Bay Tidal Area, surrounding trails, dikes and parks. Make your way to Burns Bog and spend time with the eagles, herons, swans, dabbling ducks and many other kinds of local song birds.
    **..Whiffin Spit Lodge Bed and Breakfast - located in Sooke, B. C., 
      near Victoria. Bird watchers & Naturalists are drawn to Whiffen Spit Beach which shelters Sooke Harbour from the crashing waves of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Here they find an excellent vantage point for observing seabirds, shorebirds, marine mammals & intertidal life. East Sooke Park offers one of the best sites in the Pacific Northwest to observe the fall Raptor migration (starting mid-September). Witty's Lagoon & Esquimalt Lagoon are also excellent bird-watching spots. See also Tina's Site Report on Birding the Whiffin Spit.
    **..Dawn Chorus Bed and Breakfast - Uncrowded, "off the beaten track" 
      and very quiet. We offer guided and self-directed birding opportunities. A wide variety of species, including diverse song-birds provides for excellent soundscapes. Website includes link to our Birding page with bird soundscapes, feature birds, and species lists. Centrally located in northwest B.C. just off Highway 16, the Kispiox Valley is a day's drive, or less, from Prince Rupert, the Queen Charlotte Islands, Alaska, the Yukon, Prince George, and a half an hour from historic Hazelton and the recreated village of 'Ksan. If you are looking for a special place at the end of a long day on the road, or are just wanting to get out of the city for some northern peace and quiet, come and enjoy the privacy and comforts of our deluxe little guesthouse. You will discover that this lovely area of B.C. has a lot to offer visitors: excellent birding, outdoor recreation, and a history rich in pioneer stories and first nations cultures. 

Choose another provinceChoose another countryChoose another continentAdd or change a URL

Top of Page

Local Birding Events

Clark's Nutcracker - Photo copyright by Bob Lane
Photo copyright Bob Lane

Pine Siskin - Photo copyright Bill Horn

Photo copyright Bill Horn

Bonaparte's Gull (highest breeding density) - Photo copyright Robert Royce

Photo copyright Robert Royce

Dusky Flycatcher - Photo copyright Bill Scholtz

Photo copyright Bill Scholtz
    ....Vancouver Natural History Society - Field Trips
    ....Trumpeter Swan Festival - annual festival held on February 1- 6, 2000
       in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. 
    ....Brant Festival - British Columbia's Premier Wildlife Festival -
      Parksville-Qualicum Beach, British Columbia. April 4, 5, and 6, 2003. The 13th annual festival will feature art, photography and wood carving exhibitions, a speakers' series, family events, Big Day Birding Challenge, a novice birding workshop, guest artists and workshops, and more.
    ....Creston Valley Osprey Festival - June 14-15-2003..
      Celebrating Osprey, this festival promotes the Creston Valley Wildlife 
      Management Area as vital Osprey nesting and nursery habitat. The entire family will enjoy this three day event. 
    ....Wings Over the Rockies - Columbia Valley's Birding Festival. 
      May 2- May 8, 2005. One hundred and fifty kilometers of Columbia River wetlands, flanked by grasslands, forest, and alpine tundra, lure in over 250 species of birds, including: Lewis' Woodpecker, Blue Grouse, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Golden Eagle and American Dipper. Enjoy presentations, interpretive walks, floats on the Columbia River, workshops, art displays, Children's Festival and live music while celebrating the return of  birds  to the Columbia Valley. Migrate to the Columbia Valley to join us in this fifth annual 'Wings' bird celebration.
    ....The Golden Festival of Birds & Bears - May 8 - 11, 2003. Golden, 
      British Columbia. Phone 1-800-622-GOLD for information
    ....Salmon Arm Grebe Festival - Salmon Arm, B.C. May 13, 2001.
    ....Meadowlark Festival - Penticton, B.C. - May 16- 20, 2003.
      Celebrated annually on the May long-weekend. When the Western Meadowlark returns and its carolling song rings over the grasslands and sagebrush of BC's Southern Interior, spring has truly arrived. On May 21-24 join us in celebrating spring and experience the unique landscapes of the south Okanagan and lower Similkameen Valleys during the second annual Meadowlark Festival.
    ....Snow Goose Festival - Delta, B.C. November weekends, 2001.
      Phone (604) 946-6980 for information. 

Choose another provinceChoose another countryChoose another continentAdd or change a URL

Top of Page

Rare Bird Alert

Harlequin Duck - Photo copyright Bill Scholtz
Photo copyright Bill Scholtz

Choose another provinceChoose another countryChoose another continentAdd or change a URL

Top of Page

North American Specialities in

British Columbia

Information derived from Sibley & Monroe checklists in Thayer's Birder's Diary - Version 2.02.
These counts will differ in minor ways from counts based on the ABA classification,
but an international checklist system was required to enable world-wide
country to country comparisons.These speciality birds may be uncommon, or extremely rare
at this location, or may only be present in migration. Species highlighted in bold italic print have
ONLY been found in this province of Canada. However, documented sightings of each species
noted below have been made in this location. Consult the Breeding Bird Survey or
Christmas Bird Count data on the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center website
to determine the "best" place to see each bird.

North American Endemic Specialities in BC - No Canadian Endemics
(birds in italics can only be seen in Canada by visiting British Columbia)

___ Anna's Hummingbird
___ Baird's Sparrow
___ Bewick's Wren
___ Black Oystercatcher
___ Black-chinned Hummingbird
___ Black-headed Grosbeak
___ Black-throated Sparrow
___ Black-vented Shearwater
___ Blue Grouse
___ Brandt's Cormorant
___ Brewer's Sparrow
___ Bullock's Oriole
___ California Gull
___ Calliope Hummingbird
___ Canyon Wren
___ Cassin's Auklet
___ Cassin's Finch
___ Chestnut-backed Chickadee
___ Chestnut-collared Longspur
___ Clark's Grebe
___ Clark's Nutcracker
___ Common Poorwill
___ Cordilleran Flycatcher
___ Costa' Hummingbird
___ Ferruginous Hawk
___ Grey Flaycatcher
___ Grey-crowned Rosy-Finch
___ Harris's Sparrow
___ House Finch
___ Le Conte's Sparrow
___ Lewis's Woodpecker
___ McCown's Longspur
___ Mew Gull
___ Mountain Bluebird
___ Mountain Chickadee
___ Mountain Quail
___ Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow
___ Northwestern Crow
___ Pileated Woodpecker
___ Prairie Falcon
___ Pygmy Nuthatch
___ Red-breasted Sapsucker
___ Red-naped Sapsucker
___ Ruffed Grouse
___ Sage Sparrow
___ Sage Thrasher
___ Say's Phoebe
___ Sharp-tailed Grouse
___ Smith's Longspur
___ Spotted Owl
___ Spotted Towhee
___ Spruce Grouse
___ Timberline Sparrow
___ Townsend's Solitaire
___ Trumpeter Swan
___ Western Bluebird
___ Western Grebe
___ Western Gull
___ Western Screech-Owl
___ Western Scrub-Jay
___ Whooping Crane
___ White-headed Woodpecker
___ White-tailed Ptarmigan
___ Williamson's Sapsucker
___ Xantus's Hummingbird
___ Xantus's Murrelet
Other Notable BC Birds
___ Aleutian Tern
___ Crested Myna
___ Red-faced Cormorant ___ Skylark

Choose another provinceChoose another countryChoose another continentAdd or change a URL

Top of Page

Links checked November 18, 2000