Birding in the Kispiox Valley


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Calendar of local bird arrivals

Lists of some local species of interest (still in progress)

River birds

Winter birds

Spring in the north


Majestic Sandhill cranes descend to a rest stop in the Kispiox valley, where they will lay over for a few days before continuing their arduous journey northward. Mid-April.

    Calendar of arrivals

This is a partial list of some of the birds that arrive each spring.

Late March:

- Merlins
- Northern Saw-whet Owls

Early April:

- Common Snipes


- Red-winged Blackbirds
- Yellow-rumped Warbler
- Sandhill Cranes - The "marquee" bird of the area–no other bird gets the attention that the huge flocks of sandhills gets. Another of the real "signature" sounds of the spring is the distinct calling of the high circling flocks of these magnificent birds. They lay over here in the valley for about two weeks before moving on to their northern breeding grounds, and are often seen and heard circling around the valley.

Late April/ Early May:

Warblers - There are several species of these lovely songbirds that nest here. Throughout the spring they arrive, some coming early such as the Yellow-rumped, while others like the Amercan Redstart arrive as late as early June.

A short list of warbler varieties:

- Wilson's
- Magnolia
- Orange-crowned
- MacGilliveray's
- Common Yellowthroat
- Northern Waterthrush
- American Redstart
- Yellow

Other birds to see and hear:

- Vireos
- Flycatchers
- Downy Woodpeckers
- Hairy Woodpeckers
- Pilieated Woodpeckers
- Northern Flickers
- Yellow Bellied Sapsucker
- Rufous Hummingbird
- Ruby Crowned Kinglets

Waterfowl seen on our pond:

- Wood Ducks
- Hooded Mergansers
- Northern Shovelers
- Mallards
- American Widgeons
- Ring-necked Ducks
- Teals

There are many others that await your discovery . . .



    Birding in the valley

One of the great mysteries of nature is the annual migration of creatures. Here in the Kispiox Valley we not only have the magnificent runs of salmon in the fall, but no less spectacular and magical is the return of dozens of species of birds from winter homes as far away as Central and South America each spring. Without a doubt one of the little known treasures of the sub-boreal forests in northern Canada is the variety of songbirds that make their summer homes here, providing a rich sonic backdrop to life here that we all know as the "Dawn Chorus."

This page is under development and will evolve over time. At the moment I have general lists of some of the common migrants and residents that we have around our property. I will post anything unusual and will continue to update and fill out the lists to make them more comprehensive as time goes on.

The main feature on this page will be the "Soundscapes". As I gradually become more familiar and confident with the process of editing sound and uploading it to the web, I will post regular updates each spring and summer in an effort to capture the soundscapes of the birding season here.

We are avid amateur birders and and will offer our advice and information about local birding opportunities, including guided birding, and maps of the area for self-directed birding.

I live for the beautiful sounds each spring of all of these birds.

    Winter Birds

Relatively mild winters (compared to the prairie provinces or the far north) allow for several species of birds to reside all year round here, taking advantage of our feeder . . . here are but a few that we see on a regular basis:

Evening Grosbeak -huge flocks of 40 to 60 birds will hang out for weeks raiding our feeder. Pictured at left is a small flock at the feeder.
Pine Grosbeak
Steller's Jay - dozens make our home their home
Black-capped Chickadee
Dark-eyed Junco
Gray (Canada) Jay
Red Breasted Nuthatch
Pine Siskin
- only stay during the milder winters
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Common Raven
-a constant source of amusement and wonder with their incredible vocal abilities and their "trickster" behaviour Pygmy Owl

A feeder full of Evening Grosbeaks

    Spring in the north

What can only be described as "the rapture of spring" is what follows after the long winter here in the more northern regions of Canada. I have come to see now, after thirteen years of life in the north, why many northern cultures have some kind of "rites of spring" festival along the lines of the well known Mid-Summer festivals in the Scandinavian countries. After the long dark and cold of winter you want to get out and revel in the wonder of the land re-awakening for another spring.

For me nothing quite captures that spirit of spring like the return of the birds and the sounds and joyous songs that begin to fill the air around us each year. It is truly a subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) symphony of sound that must be experienced to appreciate. If you live in a city then, whether you know it or not, you need to get out of there every now and again and experience this, as it will leave you with a renewed appreciation for the richness of a truly natural soundscape. I know, as when I lived in the city I really had no idea what a "Dawn Chorus" was. After just my first spring here, my ears helped open my mind to the wonderful world of birdsong and the rich soundscapes that are present all around us. It is a treasure, a feature worth every bit as much (and more in my opinion) as a great "viewscape."

As time goes on I will be posting "soundscapes" to try to capture and convey this wondrous facet of life here in the Kispiox Valley. Think of them as acoustic "snapshots." They will not be of individual birds so much as wide captures of what the soundscape is like on any particular evening or morning (the times that most birds are most actively singing . . . with a few exceptions).


Birding opportunites abound in the Kispiox Valley and include many species, even the diminutive but ubiquitous Rufus Hummingbird

    River Birds

Some of the birds I see along the rivers:

- Bald Eagles
- Spotted Sandpipers
- American Dipper (Water Ouzel)
- Belted Kingfisher
- Common Merganser
- Mallards
- Ospreys
- Harlequin Ducks
- Common Ravens
- Flocks of various small migrants (in the fall), siskins, finches, vireos etc. all in very tight, focussed flocks.

High overhead:

- Huge "V's" of Canada Geese
- Smaller formations of Trumpeter swans
- Snow Geese
- Sandhill Cranes

    A Technical note:

I am not a professional photographer or audio technician. The images on this site were all taken by either myself or people I know, with the barest of "nature photography" skills, or actually none at all. I am learning that it is much easier for me (an angler) to take pictures of fish than it is to take pictures of birds . . . But I can learn and it would be fun to put some energy that way.
The soundscapes are recorded either straight into the computer with the standard microphone that comes with my Mac (pretty short reach out of the window), or using a Sony digital camcorder with an external microphone and then formatted in my Mac, ultimately into Quicktime Movie files. But no special recording equipment or "shotgun" or "parabolic" mics are used. Just low-end "do-it-yourself" kind of equipment.
Please let me know how the sound files work out for you, and if you want to suggest other formats for playback then please do. You can contact me here:; working with sound files is new to me, so feedback is good.

Navigational Links

You may have arrived at this page by various means, here are some ways either back from where you came or onward to my other related sites . . .

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Mulitmedia birding page (need Quicktime and high speed connection)

Multimediia birding page (dial-up connection will need Quicktime for downloads)

Dawn Chorus Guesthouse
Mykiss Fine Woodworking
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