Kelowna is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded tm̓xʷúlaʔxʷ (land) of the syilx/Okanagan people who have resided here since time immemorial.

Kelowna promises an enchanting birdwatching journey. Located in a diverse tapestry of ecosystems including lakeshores, wetlands, riversides, and sprawling vineyards, this region offers a captivating array of birding hotspots. From the serene waterfronts to the tranquil mountain trails, Kelowna’s landscapes invite bird enthusiasts to explore a rich variety of avian life.

As you embark on your birding adventure, you’ll discover an assortment of charming wineries, innovative breweries, and many local dining options. Birders can chart their course through the region’s vibrant neighborhoods, independently-owned establishments, and top-tier birdwatching sites that define Kelowna.

This itinerary will lead you through the city’s distinct neighborhoods, unearthing its hidden treasures. Whether you’re wandering along the picturesque lakeshores or immersing yourself in lush orchards, each moment beckons you to connect with the marvels of nature.

Embracing Kelowna’s ambiance, you’ll find ample opportunities to explore and appreciate unique ecosystems and landscapes.

Spring birding in Kelowna

Spring in Kelowna is a birding oasis as migratory birds return to the region’s lush landscapes. Keep an eye out for the vibrant Lazuli Bunting with its striking blue plumage, singing from shrubs and trees. Listen to the melodious tunes of the Yellow Warblers along the waterways. Among the wetlands, watch for elegant Great Blue Herons and agile Tree Swallows.

Summer birding in Kelowna

Kelowna in the summer offers sunny weather and vibrant birdwatching opportunities. Keep an eye out for the Western Bluebirds, their vivid blue plumage is a treat for all levels of birdwatchers. Look out for Western Kingbirds and along the lakeshores, you might spot Belted Kingfishers and agile Violet-Green Swallows. Kelowna’s rich birdlife promises exciting encounters with these and other species amid the summer’s natural beauty.

Fall birding in Kelowna

Fall in Kelowna is a rewarding time for birdwatching as migratory birds pass through the region. Keep an eye down low for curious California Quails exploring underbrush. Along waterways you may see Common Mergansers and colourful Wood Ducks. Birds of prey like Turkey Vultures, Ospreys, and Red-tailed Hawks can be seen hitching rides on thermals up above. Kelowna is an excellent destination for birdwatchers and nature appreciators alike.

Winter birding in Kelowna

Winter birdwatching in Kelowna may be a bit cold but offers unique birdwatching experiences.. While many birds have migrated south, the region still hosts a variety of impressive birds. Look for the Downy Woodpeckers and White-breasted Nuthatches climbing up and down trees. In the forests, listen for soft hoots of Great Horned Owls and calls of Mountain Chickadees. Kelowna’s diverse landscapes offer an excellent home for many of BCs iconic species.

Exploring the heart of the Okanagan

Stunning shorelines and peaceful trails set the stage for some excellent urban birding opportunities throughout the neighbourhoods of Kelowna. No matter what time of year you visit, the variety of habitats and species found here is sure to delight.

Learning about Wetlands at Rotary Marsh Park - Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com
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    Rotary Marsh Park
    Unnamed Road, Kelowna, BC

    This waterfront park is situated close to the downtown core of kelowna and is a favourite destination for cyclists, walkers and even the odd roller blader. Despite the hustle and bustle, this small park offers great views over Okanagan Lake, and has been host to a pair of nesting Ospreys in years past. Walk the small jetty to scan the lake for Grebes and Loons and on your return survey the marsh ponds that host a number of waterfowl including some residents that return each year to overwinter in the sheltered waters.

Rotary Marsh Park. Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – Matt Ferguson Photography
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    Maude-Roxby Wetlands Boardwalk
    Kelowna, BC

    Located along the shore of Okanagan Lake, Maude Roxby Bird Sanctuary is a peaceful park offering excellent bird watching opportunities year round. Follow the board walk through the marshland as you make your way to a viewing platform that juts out into Okanagan lake allowing for great views with minimal environmental disturbance. During winter, you may find flocks of gulls and waterfowl, while the spring season brings warblers, vireos and flycatchers aplenty. A number of strays have popped up in this park over the years, so it’s a great place to return to, time permitting.

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    Mission Creek Regional Park
    2363 Springfield Rd, Kelowna, BC V1X 7N7

    A delightful park with 7km of gentle trails that cross the creek and wind through the surrounding woods. The creek is home to a spawning population of Kokanee Salmon in the fall, which attracts a number of species to feed on this seasonal abundance. Stop in at the Robert Hobson Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan to chat with the knowledgeable staff and learn about the most recent sightings.

Mission Creek Greenway. Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – ©RDCO & Michael Hintringer
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    Munson Pond
    1750 Munson Rd, Kelowna, BC V1W 2G8

    A beautiful, accessible pond that is a favourite amongst local bird watchers for the variety of species it is possible to encounter here. You expect to find a wide gravel path circumnavigating the pond, and two viewing platforms along the way offering excellent vantage points of this ecologically significant wetland. With over 225 species sighted here, the area attracts a number of exciting migrants with even the occasional wayward species has been known to pop up here. 

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Ducks on the lake - Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com
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Searching for sightings - Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com
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Admiring the view from Johns Family Nature Conservancy - Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – Ken Hagen.
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Exploring the trails at Mission Creek Regional Park - Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com
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Grasslands, salt marshes and stunning landscapes.

As you make your way north towards the outskirts of Kelowna, a variety of habitats awaits. From the expansive grasslands of Black Mountain – Sntsk’il’ntən Regional Park to the distinctive salt marshes of Robert Lake, take your time as you explore to truly soak in the experience and hopefully spot some exciting species.

Mouth of Mission Creek - Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – ARK Media.
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    Chichester Wetland Park
    250 Sumac Rd W, Kelowna, BC V1X 6W8

    A real hidden gem nestled in the heart of Kelowna’s Rutland community, Chichester Wetland Park is a must-do for bird enthusiasts in the area no matter what time of year. The trail system in this park may be short, but there is much to see as you pass by the ponds, some of which are inhabited by painted turtles. With over 180 species spotted in the park, and a resident contingent of Mallards who overwinter in the area, you never know what you might find at this urban wetland.

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    Robert Lake Regional Park
    Kelowna, BC

    A unique salt flat environment that is a preferred habitat for wading birds who return to the area each year to breed. Waders such as the American Avocet, Wilson’s Phalarope and Spotted Sandpiper breed here, alongside a number of waterfowl such as the Green-winged Teal and Ruddy Duck. Public access is limited to the parking area, and a spotting scope is recommended to truly appreciate the abundance of this carefully protected area.

Hiking in Kelowna - Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – ARK Media.
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    Carney Pond
    250 Sumac Rd W, Kelowna, BC V1X 6W8

    Carney Pond is an excellent area to visit for the cattail marsh ecosystem supports an abundant array of long term residents and passing migrants. You can expect to find waterfowl floating on the pond, waders along the shoreline and a number of songbirds flitting amongst the surrounding forest. Access to Carney Pond is gained from a short walk along the Okanagan Rail Trail, with parking available on nearby Lougheed Road.

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    Black Mountain - Sntsk’il’ntən Regional Park
    Central Okanagan I, BC V1P 1K5

    Located on Kelowna’s eastern slopes, this stunning grassland ecosystem was created through the collective efforts of the Regional District of Central Okanagan, Westbank First Nation, and the Province of British Columbia. Offering kilometres of hiking trails of varying difficulties that traverse the ridgeline, visitors are rewarded for the efforts with abundant views of the surrounding area. Over 120 species have been spotted here, making the area an excellent choice for birdwatching. For the best chance at viewing some species that are harder to find in the area, such as Mountain Bluebird and Western Meadowlark, it’s best to visit in the morning or evening to avoid the heat of the day.

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Exploring the shores of Okanagan Lake - Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com.
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Walk winding paths to cliff top vistas

Time to take things to slightly more remote heights with a visit to the Johns Family Nature Conservancy and Bertram Creek. Slightly removed from the hustle of Kelowna, you can expect exceptional views, well-maintained trails and serene swimming spots.

Hiking in Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park - Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – Ken Hagen.
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    Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park
    6970 Chute Lake Rd, Kelowna, BC V1W 4L5

    With over 400 hectares of parkland, the opportunities are endless in John’s Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park. Traversing peaks and ridgelines surrounding the neighbourhoods south of Kelowna, the park offers panoramic views and is a favourite with local climbers. The environment here lends itself to uplands and grassland species, and is a great location to view birds of prey.

Bertram Creek Regional Park Jetty - Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – ©RDCO & Michael Hintringer.
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    Bertram Creek Regional Park
    5680 Lakeshore Rd, Kelowna, BC V1W 4J4

    Located along the shores of Okanagan Lake near Johns Family Nature Conservancy, and offers a number of trails and a jetty that just out over the water. It is a great spot to look for loons out on the lake, while soaring raptors can be observed overhead.

Bertram Creek Regional Park - Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – Matt Ferguson Photography.
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Mission Creek Greenway - Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – ©RDCO & Michael Hintringer

Learn more about birding related events in Kelowna

Central Okanagan Naturalists' Club

The Central Okanagan Naturalists’ Club aims to share their passion for the natural world and endeavour to conserve it. They host regular events for nature lovers including regular bird walks. Head to their website to learn about what events are happening and how to participate.

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