Birds to Listen for in BC Parks

Written by Abby Koning

Aaaah the sounds of nature… there’s nothing quite like it, is there? Wind blowing through the trees, squirrels scurrying in the branches, and best of all, birds singing all around you.

Birdwatching and bird listening can provide magical experiences, but you’ve got to be observant, and most of all, you’ve got to be quiet. Many people go into parks to relax and take in the peace that nature has to offer. By minimizing your noise pollution on the trails and in your campground, you’ll not only be respecting your fellow park visitors and sensitive wildlife, but you’ll be able to hear some pretty amazing birdcalls


Song Sparrow

Jason Headley, iNaturalist

Like their name suggests, Song Sparrows and singing go hand in hand. These birds can be found year-round in parts of B.C. in a variety of habitats, so it’s likely you’ll come across one in a park. Keep your eyes, and ears, open!


Common Loon

Jason Headley, iNaturalist

Common Loons have a very distinctive call; the moment you hear it, you’ll know exactly who you’re listening to. Loons are commonly found on lakes and ponds, so if you’re camping by the water or canoeing on the Turner Lake Canoe Circuit in Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park, you might be in luck.


Dark-eyed Junco

Jason Headley, iNaturalist

Parks and forested areas are great locations to spot a Dark-eyed Junco. They can be found all across B.C. and are one of the most common birds in North America. They tend to forage on the ground, so keep your eyes down low. Once you know what to look for, they’re easily recognizable.


Northern Flicker

Robby Deans, iNaturalist

While you may be familiar with the sounds of woodpeckers like the Northern Flicker from their drumming on wood or other hard objects to communicate, that’s not all these birds can do. So, if you hear that “tap-tap-tap,” listen up for their call, too! You might expect them to spend their time in trees, but you’re actually more likely to spot a Northern Flicker gathering food from the ground.


Belted Kingfisher

Jason Headley, iNaturalist

The Belted Kingfisher has an interesting rattling call. They are territorial, often solitary, and are quick to make some noise, so if you’re near one, you’ll be sure to know. You’ll find these flashy little birds fishing for their food near streams, rivers, lakes or other water sources.


Loud noises and noise pollution can startle wildlife and cause stress in birds and other animals. While it is a good idea to make some noise on the trail to alert animals of your location, especially when hiking in bear country, blasting your speakers and partying into the night is doing much more harm than good. Parks are for everyone to enjoy, so we recommend investing in some headphones or just listening to the birds. After all, they are nature’s soundtrack.


Learn more:

  • Did you know there are over 500 species of birds found in British Columbia? Be sure to join the BC Parks project in iNaturalist and use the app or website to track your observations of flora and fauna and to see where your favourite birds can be found around the province.
  • For more information on the species above, or countless other species of birds, check out the All About Birds website from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
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