The Canadian Okanagan not only hosts a great diversity of birds, but it is home to six species with federally endangered status. Some of these can be reliably located in season: Williamson’s Sapsucker, Yellow-breasted Chat and with luck, Sage Thrasher.
The others: Western screech Owl, Burrowing owl and White-headed Woodpecker are so elusive or rare that they are quite a challenge.
Once the snow melts and warmer days arrive, we see the first influx of migrants in March. See Western Meadowlark, Western and Mountain Bluebirds, raptors, owls and many species of ducks. April and May bring movements of neotropical migrant songbirds. See Audubon’s, Nashville, Townsend's and MacGillivray's warblers, Calliope and Rufous hummingbird, Cassin's Finch, Sandhill Crane, White throated Swift, Common Poorwill, Dusky Grouse, Spotted Towhee, Western Kingbird, Say's Phoebe and Williamson's Sapsucker.
Truly hot weather arrives in June as breeding birds are in full voice. Late arrivals include Common Nighthawk, Black-chinned Hummingbird and Flammulated Owl. Common breeding specialties attract visiting birders: Bullock's Oriole, Black-headed Grosbeak, Chukar, Gray Catbird, Veery, Yellow-breasted Chat, Eastern Kingbird, Gray Flycatcher, Lewis' Woodpecker, Lazuli Bunting, Cassin’s vireo, Lark Sparrow, Brewer's Sparrow, Rock Wren and Sage Thrasher.
Come September the days are milder and this coincides with returning migrants from the north such as warblers, shorebirds and waterfowl. Much bird activity centres around the lakes: shorebirds stop briefly on the shorelines. Mixed flocks of warblers and migrating hawks and eagles pass through. October offers a high diversity of sparrows such as Lincoln’s sparrow and “Oregon” Junco. Barrow's and Common Goldeneye's, Grebes, Redhead, Canvasback, Scaup and many more waterfowl arrive throughout. Numbers of Trumpeter and Tundra Swans arrive in November to winter on the larger lakes.
Winter sets in by December with the arrival of species from Canada's northern boreal forest and tundra. Delight in observing Pine Grosbeak, Bohemian Waxwing, Common Redpoll, White-winged Crossbill, Common Loon, Northern Shrike and Rough-legged hawk. Resident species stay all winter such as many owl species, Canyon Wren, Golden Eagle, Pygmy and White-breasted Nuthatch, Mountain and Boreal Chickadee, Canada Jay, Spruce Grouse, Black-billed Magpie, Stellar’s Jay, Clark's Nutcracker, Gray-crowned Rosy Finch, Black-backed and Three-toed Woodpeckers.
Mountain Bluebird Tours
Penticton, British Columbia, Canada
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