Birding in the Kispiox Valley: Soundscapes, Images,Video


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Sandhill Cranes are without doubt the most exciting bird of the season here in the Kispiox Valley. This image was taken in mid-April when large flocks arrive in the fields to rest before continuing their journey northward.

Quick links to inline Videos on this page

Steller's Jays Wood Ducks Sandhill Cranes circling in the sky

Mid April 2007,

Now with winter finally making its long awaited retreat, we look forward to the arrival of many of our favourite birds. The first flock of Sandhill cranes were seen just yesterday (April 15th) right on time as always.

The feeder is full of Red-winged Blackbirds, Steller's Jays, Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Grosbeaks, Oregon Juncos, and of course Chickadees.

Meanwhile the Merlins are busy staking out their nesting sites, the Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers are drumming their territorial rhythms, Pileated Woodpeckers are loudly proclaiming their rites of Spring, and Northern Flickers too are announcing their arrival.

But mostly it is the Steller's Jays who are the most visible of our birds at the moment, their bright blue spring plumage is hard to miss against the dull early spring ground and foliage and especially against the last remnants of snow still clinging to the ground.

Watch and listen to the short movie of the jays as they hop around the base of our feeder looking for seeds, and hear the raucous but beautiful sound of the Red-winged Blackbirds all around them.


Photo by Simon Stockner

About this web page


On this page you will find an ever-changing archive of primarily audio, but also some video "snapshots" of the surrounding soundscapes during the prime birding months of the spring and early summer, here at the Dawn Chorus Bed and Breakfast in the Kispiox Valley in north-west British Columbia. It is meant to give potential visiting birders an audio image of what to expect on any given week of the season.

All of these recordings and video imagery are made at an amateur level, using a simple Sony DV camcorder with an external microphone. I will make every attempt over time to upgrade and improve the quality of the sound and imagery. But for now what you hear and see is what you get.

All the sound files are in Quicktime mp4 format and the video is standard format. You will very likely need Quicktime to hear and view the contents of the sound and video files; I would suggest downloading the latest version (for either Mac or PC) at Apple computer's Quicktime site



Sandhill cranes.

Every year we eagerly await the return of these magnificent birds.The air is filled with their unique call as hundreds of them glide and fly in low over our house on their way to their resting fields a few kilometers from our house. There they will lay over and rest for up to a week before continuing on their way further north to their nesting grounds.

Time: Mid April. Our records show that the sandhills show up consistantly a few days before or around the middle of the month; the 12th, 13th or 14th.

Sandhill Cranes overhead (7.8 MB)

Sandhill Cranes circling in a beautiful sky (4.4 MB)

Steller's Jays on ground (2.4 MB )

Wood Ducks on pond (4.9 MB)



These Steller's Jays are but a small number of the dozens that hang out at our feeder in the late winter and early spring. Their bright blue breeding plumage is very photogenic. Note that the sound track is dominated by the loud and raucous Red-winged Blackbirds, the jays are unusually quiet (for a change!) in this clip.

Audio Soundscapes

Red-winged Blackbirds and Pine Siskins (340 KB)

We see (and hear!) large flocks of both of these birds around mid to late April. The blackbirds are drawn to the edge of our pond as well as our feeder.

Time: mid to late April (Siskins may even over-winter if temperatures are mild and feeders are stocked.)


Sandhill Crane soundtrack.(1.2 MB)

Without doubt the single most exhilarating birding moment of the year. This sound, and the accompanying video footage, captures the very moment that they are returning, flying in low over our house on their way to fields just a few kilometers up the valley, where they will rest for a few days before continuing their long journey.

Time: Mid-April


Common Snipe winnowing (452KB)

Another of the signature sounds of spring. I will spend many hours out on evening walks in the spring awaiting the first winnnowing snipe; then, once they are here and in full mating flight and display, I revel every evening in one of the world's great hauntingly beautiful sounds.

Time: late April, early May


Swainson's Thrush (328 KB)

Swainson's Thrush and coyotes (480 KB)

While one could say that all of these birds are the "signatures" of spring, the Swainson's may well be the real thing. This very likely is the bird who sings the longest each season; it seems like there are several weeks where each evening the trees and woods around our house are resonant with the eerily beautiful flute-like spiralling song of this bird.

Time: mid May through to late June

Immature Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. May/June 2006


A "gang" or as we more politely say "a family" of Common mergansers makes its way up the edge of the Kispiox River

Photo by Kent Sharman

Every year we get at least one pair of Wood Ducks, sometimes two, on our pond looking for our nesting boxes. In this video clip, we see the males getting a little competitive. There is a nice little display by one right at the end.

You will hear Pine Siskins calling, Chickadees and most notably, right at the start, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet singing.

Here, the same band of happy Steller's Jays as in the video above, hop around the base of our feeder.

Last updated April 16, 2007

I plan on uploading as many "soundscapes" as possible this spring. Look for the warblers, the sparrows, the finches, the flycatchers, the warbling vireos and many many others who all contribute to the "symphony of spring".

    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 All image, video, and soundfiles are the property of Todd Stockner and Dawn Chorus Guesthouse, unless otherwise noted.

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