Spring and early summer are by far the most productive seasons, but more importantly for some, it’s also prime bird watching time. From mid-April to late May when the ice melts away and the glacial fed lakes refill, flocks of species begin to arrive.
With well over 260 species of birds recorded in the area birding is an activity the whole family can enjoy. Picking up a pair of binoculars before heading out on your adventure is advised to help ensure you get the “birds eye view”!
While birding, keep an eye out for bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, osprey and merlin; you might just see one of these predatory birds. Or you might be able to capture the intense blue colour of the Mountain Bluebird, hear the tapping of the American Three-toed Woodpecker or listen to the songs of the Townsend’s Warbler.
Whether you like to hike, bike, canoe or drive to your bird watching location, the best time of the day to bird watch is from an hour before sunrise to around 10 in the morning. They’re nothing quite like an early morning canoe ride, gliding through the still waters with only the sounds of the birds chirping.
To discover birds in the area, a field guide is best, but generally birds can be spotted in the Montane and wetland habitats of the lower Bow Valley.
Some of the top bird watching sites in the area are:
Bow River Bridge: Late March to mid July and winter
The cave and basin marsh: Late March to early May, late May to mid July
Vermillion Lakes: April to mid July, Mid August to November
Johnston’s Canyon: June to mid September
Bow River: Mid May to mid July (several access points as it runs parallel to the TransCanada Highway from Banff to Lake Louise)
Bow Summit: June to mid July
Birding is a fun activity that can be enjoyed by everyone, so don’t miss out!