Birds, birds, birds
Wildlife and birds abound in this incredibly diverse, mountainous forest area. Whether you just like to see some birds or are a more serious birder, you will find something to delight you. From the most common everyday species to some of the rare transient visitors, a sharp eyed guest will see plenty of birdlife in the area.
In Wells Gray Park there have been 219 species of bird sighted since records were first kept in 1950. While peak birding season is April to mid June (mating and migration season for many species) there are numerous opportunities all year round. The Wells Grey Tourist Information Centre has some birding resources including a checklist of known species
Having binoculars is helpful but not required. Keep an eye open at the edge of roadsides and water. Looking skyward may reveal soaring eagles or circling turkey vultures. Eagles can be found feeding on spawning salmon in the late summer.
Catch the beautiful blues of a Stellar’s jay (North America’s largest jay and the only one with a head crest). Be amused by Canada’s national bird the whiskey jack (Grey Jay), a noisy and friendly bird.
On sunny winter days catch the friendly black capped chickadee as it flits about singing a distinctive dee-dee-dee. Sometimes a sharp eyed visitor will see a mountain chickadee, a boreal chickadee, a chestnut-backed chickadee or a white breasted nuthatch in amongst the flock.
Listen early morning and late evening for the peaceful cooing of doves or the laughter of loons on many of the area lakes.
When driving keep an eye open for one of several species of “prairie chicken” … ruffed grouse, spruce grouse or at higher altitudes you may catch a glimpse of the blue grouse. In places you may catch a glimpse of white tailed ptarmigan.
Bald eagles may be seen in many places in the valley, including soaring overhead. Also watch for them in trees along the river valleys and lakes. They often perch there after feeding on fish.
There are also turkey vultures in the area. You can sometimes get a glimpse of them soaring high above the valley in the summer months.
Watch the waterways and the skies overhead for a wide range of ducks and geese. See and hear swans and cranes in the spring and fall swans during their high altitude flybys.