One of the most incredible birds you can find on The BC Bird Trail is the Sooty Grouse. You’re most likely to come across them at higher elevations, like hiking in Squamish or Whistler on the Sea to Sky Bird Trail.
If you’re lucky, you might just catch a male doing its eye-catching display, where air sacs on the sides of the male’s throat inflate, showing off bright yellow patches surrounded by a ring of white feathers.
How/where to find
Primarily an alpine species, keep an eye out when on the trail at higher elevations.
You can find the Sooty Grouse on the Central Vancouver Island, Fraser Valley, South Fraser, Sea to Sky, and Langford Bird Trails.
Find the Sooty Grouse on the bird trail
The Fraser Valley Bird Trail ushers birders along on a riverside tour of some of the province’s richest birding regions. Composed of four unique communities, this trail stretches from the Township of Langley in the west, through the Fraser River cities of Abbotsford and Chilliwack to the Village of Harrison Hot Springs at the southern…Explore Trail
or jump right to an itinerary...Harrison River Valley Chilliwack Langley Abbotsford
Protected by the Stawamus Chief Mountain, and populated by the continent’s highest concentration of wintering bald eagles, Squamish provides spectacular 360-degree views of snow-capped mountains, glacial lakes, and old-growth forests. The recently-UNESCO-designated Átl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound Biosphere Reserve encompasses the fjord, its islands, and the extensive nature surrounding it.Explore Trail
34 kilometres northeast of Abbotsford, Chilliwack is one of the province’s most popular outdoor destinations, boasting an assortment of parks, nature reserves, and farm-fresh eateries. This agricultural region is home to farm birds like red-tailed hawks and harriers and is also a great spot for cedar waxwings.Explore Trail
Harrison River Valley
Not only do the sandy beaches of Harrison Lake, thirty-two kilometres north of Chilliwack, inspire some of the most dynamic outdoor adventure opportunities in the province, but they also provide a unique habitat for migratory birds and birders alike.Explore Trail
Sea to Sky
Regarded as one of the world’s best road trip routes, Highway 99 stretches 377 kilometers from the US border northeast to Cache Creek, BC. But it’s at the northern tip of Howe Sound, in view of the towering Stawamus Chief Mountain, that the Sea to Sky corridor of this coastal route earns its namesake. As…Explore Trail
Located between Victoria and Nanaimo, Cowichan is named after the Cowichan First Nation for whom it means “land warmed by the sun.” Look out for turkey vultures in the spring and summer, trumpeter swans in the valley in the fall, and herons in the estuary.Explore Trail
The mouth of the mighty Fraser River empties into the Salish Sea and all around lie some of the most diverse waterways and marshlands in the province. Just a short 15 km drive from downtown Vancouver, the South Fraser Trail begins in Richmond with a series of important locations along the Pacific Flyway. Neighbouring Delta…Explore Trail
Surrey is a big city full of people, farmland, and birds. The shores of Boundary Bay full of endless amounts of marine life, while nearby rivers and farmland ecosystems provide bird-friendly habitats all year round. Since the 1980s Surrey has seen an immigration boom create an incredibly diverse city, with more than 30% of local…Explore Trail
Central Vancouver Island
A short drive from Victoria or serene ferry sailing from Vancouver, Central Vancouver Island is home to diverse ocean, estuary, riverside, marshland, forest, and alpine habitats – a wide variety of birding hot spots, all nestled safely along the Strait of Georgia. Never far from farm-fresh dining and locally-roasted coffee, birders can plan a route…Explore Trail
or jump right to an itinerary...Nanaimo Cowichan Parksville Qualicum Beach
Renowned for its airshow, planes aren’t the only sights in the skies above Abbotsford – look out for hawks around the farms and airfield, as well as swamp sparrows and elusive American bittern. 45 km east of Langley, this cultivated city weaves an eclectic tale of agriculture, community, and natural environment.Explore Trail
From the Kwantlen, Katzie, Semiahmoo and Matsqui First Nations who have lived in the region for centuries, to the Fort Langley National Historic Site, the Township of Langley is rich in local traditions. A one hour drive east of Vancouver, take in beautiful riverside and lagoon bird watching opportunities, keeping an eye out for kingfishers…Explore Trail
Nanaimo, The Harbour City, is a central hub and major ferry port on Vancouver Island. While the Old City Quarter and Commercial Street are full of retail shops and restaurants, a quick drive out of the city presents beautiful outdoor experiences and opportunities to view cedar waxwings, sparrows, hawks, and waterfowl.Explore Trail
With glaciated mountains at either side, it’s not hard to see why Whistler has been called the Valley of Dreams. The alpine home of countless bird species, including some higher-altitude specialties like Canada Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, and Ruffed & Sooty Grouse. Golden-eared visitors might also listen for the high pitched call of the local hoary…Explore Trail
Parksville Qualicum Beach
Parksville Qualicum Beach is a charming collection of 14 unique communities – all epitomizing the relaxing Vancouver Island lifestyle. The sandy beaches of this region are truly remarkable, spanning as wide as 1 kilometre at low tide. Stick to the scenic coastline for plentiful pelagic birding opportunities, then relax and recharge your batteries with the…Explore Trail
Inset from the southern tip of Vancouver Island, this outdoor lover’s paradise just 15 kilometres from Downtown Victoria. Named “BC’s Best Community 2021” by Maclean’s Magazine, Langford’s popular downtown core is surrounded by lush, green hills chock-full of hiking trails and lookouts with local wildlife around every turn. Though many small private lakes dot the…Explore Trail
or jump right to an itinerary...
The heart of the Pacific Flyway, and a central hub to travellers throughout BC, Richmond’s diverse communities and spectacular waterfront vistas are home to a plethora of migratory birds.Explore Trail
The City of Delta is composed of Ladner, Tsawwassen, and North Delta – three distinct communities that welcome an incredible diversity of migratory birds, from snow geese to the western sandpiper, year-round.Explore Trail