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Bird watching in Canada

Canadian Bird watching is also called birding, and is a process of observing and studying birds with either the named eye or a pair of binoculars. However apart from observation, there is a also an important auditory component that is involved in bird watching in Canada with identifying many bird species. Canadian Bird watching is mostly pursued for recreational purposes, or as part of a social gathering. However birdwatchers are not to be mistaken for ornithologists who study various bird species, by using scientific methods.

The Haida Gwaii region in Canada has been a popular Canadian Bird Observatory for many famous bird watchers, painters and photographers. John Kerry a famous ornithologist lived in Queen Charlottes during the late 1800’ where he helped identify many new species of birds. He was the first person to document the sharp-tailed sandpiper in Canada. The spring shorebird was studied by Mr. Allen Brooks during the early 1920s. These people help promote and develop interest in Canadian Bird watching. Queen Charlotte has always been a bird sanctuary and promotes bird watching in Canada by drawing in bird watchers from all over Canada and the United States to view over 140 species of birds.

The National Audubon Society’s publishes Field notes that are entirely devoted to publishing data on various species of Canadian birds provided solely by bird watchers. An issue is published every season that monitors and sums up the number of species as well as their overall population; this data is mostly gathered by Canadian bird watchers. The Christmas bird count was started in the early part of the 1900s and is considered to be the most highly organized bird watching in Canada events. These events help identify various types of new bird species as well as monitor their population trends as well as their periodic fluctuations. This helps provide a wealth of statistical information for future as well as present bird watchers.

Bird Watching Equipment

Canadian bird watching or birding doesn’t require a lot of sophisticated equipment, a good set of Birding Optics is probably all you need to start off. A pair of Binoculars and spotting scopes along with a tripod is a great set of tools to observe birds that are a very long distance away. A birdfeeder and a birdhouse is a great way to attract birds towards you. A notepad is used to take notes of your discoveries along with a field guild to guide you though the various phases of birdwatching in Canada. Birds tend to be timid creatures, so in order to observe them effectively you need to conceal yourself from their field of vision, observation towers work best as they not only conceal your location but also improve your viewing angle. There are also various special birding binoculars that are specifically used to observe birds.

Bird watchers have always taken photographs of the birds they have observed while birdwatching in Canada; however until a few years ago photography equipment was expensive. Today affordable digital cameras in conjunction with a telescope or binoculars have made it easy for bird watchers to record their discoveries.

The internet has changed the way bird watchers operate; you no longer need to travel a long way from home to discover a new bird species in the Amazon. Robotic cameras installed in various remote parts of the world as well as wildlife areas have made it easy for bird watchers to catch a glimpse and snap a photo of a rare species of bird, half way around the world. Projects such as CONE have made it easy for bird watchers to view birds living in inhospitable areas.

Many companies offer tours that are catered to birders. They take it upon themselves to take you to the best available birding spots as well as provide you with an expert that will help you identify birds. These guides are experienced and are very knowledgeable.

Canada is a great place to spot all kinds of rare birds, especially migratory birds that flock to Canada from all over the world. Depending on the province you are located in there are a few excellent locations where famous birds can be spotted.

  • Banff National Park / Lake Louise
    This is considered to be one of the most beautiful locations in the Canadian Rockies. Here you can find over 260 species of birds. This is a great birding location even in winter. The most famous birds you should look out for are Black-capped, Boreal, Clark's Nutcrackers, and Mountain Chickadees.

  • Jasper National Park
    Jasper National Park is huge and is also located in the Canadian Rockies. You should visit the Talbot Lake where you can spot various species of Owls. The best time to visit this place is between March and September.
British Columbia:
  • Vancouver / Reifel Bird Sanctuary / Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
    British Columbia is famous for the Crested Myna, sooty shearwater, fork-tailed, Northern Fulmar, and Storm-petrel. The sky lark can also be observed from the south edge near the Victoria International airport.
  • Churchill
    The best time to visit is late June during which you can catch a glimpse of the Ross Gull, Arctic Tern, Hudsonian Godwit, Smith’s Longspur as well as many other famous birds.
New Brunswick:
  • Grand Manan Archipelago
    this is a beautiful place where you can spot migration birds. You should watch for shorebirds as well as Atlantic Puffins. Near the spruce-fir forests you should look for crossbills and warblers.
Newfoundland & Labrador:
  • Three-toed woodpeckers, as well as seabirds, along with Atlantic Puffins are the most popular birds you can spot in this region.
Northwest Territories:
  • For the most part of the Northwest Territories you would need to hire a helicopter or airplane to reach. However you won’t be disappointed by the population of Blue Grouse, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Bohemian Waxwing and Trumpeter Swan as well as migratory Whooping Cranes.
Nova Scotia
  • The best time to visit is spring through winter, when you can watch Bicknell's Thrush and Atlantic Puffin.
  • Watch for Fork-tailed Storm-petrel, Sooty Shearwater, Northern Fulmar or a Jaeger.
  • Birds of special interest are: Canada Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Mourning Warbler, White-rumped Sandpiper, American Woodcock, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Blue-winged Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and Magnolia Warbler.
Prince Edward Island:
  • The bird of this province is Jay. Birds of interest are: Shorebirds and waterfowl.
  • This province is known for the Snowy Owl. It is also a great place for: Black-legged Kittiwakes, Razorbills, Atlantic Puffins, Northern Gannets, and Common Murres.
  • The Sharp-tailed Grouse is the most famous bird of this region.
  • The Common Raven is the most famous bird here.
Don't forget to read our interesting report on Whale watching in Canada and Bear watching in Canada.
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