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bird watching

How to Start Bird Watching

Bird Watching: How to get started.
(photo: Brad Vissia – Common Yellowthroat)

Have you ever wondered what that bird was that you saw out on a walk? If so, you are not alone. With people enjoying wide-open spaces and nature more this year, there has been an increased curiosity in these feathered creatures, along with their habitats.

You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy bird watching and nor do you have to go far to see them. That is the great thing about bird watching, it is accessible, inexpensive, and easy to do. You can spot birds in your backyard, neighbourhood, or at one of our parks.

Many species of birds live year-round in West Kelowna, while others are just passing through during the spring and fall migration. The spring migration typically starts in March and continues through to May and the fall migration is shorter happening in September and October. Over 200 different species of birds can be seen on the Westside throughout the year!


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A post shared by James Jansen (@okbirds)


When is the best time to bird watch?
Birds can be seen year-round, but the spring and fall migrations are when the widest variety of birds can be seen. The time of day is also important when watching birds – they are most active in the mornings when they are looking for food.

What do I need for bird watching?
You don’t need much for bird watching. A guide book is always helpful to identify birds, or our bird watching & guide can help as well. A pair of inexpensive binoculars are useful, as one local birder told us, ‘small brown birds all look the same until you see them through binoculars.’


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A post shared by Lin Tingstad (@shannon_lake_birder)


What are some tips for bird watching

  • Explore different habitats, such as the lakeshores or forested areas.
  • Birds are easily startled by loud noises, so try to be quiet. Also, try to avoid sudden movements as this too startles them.
  • Look for flocks and you may see several different types of birds. Many birds join mixed-species flocks not only for protection but also because it makes it easier to find food.
  • Do not wear brightly coloured clothing as it contracts too much with the environment and may look like movement to the birds.
  • Bring a camera, this way you can snap a photo and look to identify the bird later. You can even use your smartphone camera. Many people are digiscoping (pointing your camera through a scope or binoculars).
  • If possible, have your back to the sun as this will make identifying the birds easier and the bird will not appear as a silhouette.



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A post shared by James Jansen (@jamesajansen)


Where to go in West Kelowna for Birdwatching

Top bird watching locations, as per include:

  • Goats Peak Regional Park | 2990 Seclusion Bay Rd
  • Glen Canyon Regional Park | 4262 Gelllatly Rd
  • Shannon Lake Regional Park | 2375 Swite Rd
  • Rose Valley Regional Park | Westlake Rd & Starlight Cres
  • Kalamoir Regional Park | end of Collens Hill Rd
  • At the mouth of Powers Creek and Rotary Trails | Gellatly Rd
  • Green Bay (Osprey Park) | 1430 Green Bay Rd
  • Around the Cove Lakeside Resort | Gellatly Rd


Next time you go for a walk or a hike, do it with a purpose, the purpose of looking for a new species of birds. It can be a bit like a scavenger hunt in that birds like different habitats. If you are wanting to try to spot a rare duck, it would be best to go to the waterfront, whereas a woodpecker would be found in the forest (and the odd time on top of light posts pecking away!)


Don’t forget to tag us when you are on your bird watching adventures @VisitWestside #VisitWestside