Most visitors to Sointula Lodge are eager to cast a line and hopefully catch sight of a big salmon. But while fishing might be the main attraction, there’s plenty of other wildlife to see during your visit.
From whales and dolphins in the water to bears and coyotes onshore, you’ll want to keep your eyes open and your camera ready while out on the water. But while you’re scanning the shoreline or peering beneath the waves, don’t forget to look up to.
Keep reading to learn a few bird species you might spot during your visit to Sointula Lodge.
For many guests, the bald eagle is the most popular species to spot in the skies during their visit to the region. You don’t have to be an avid birdwatcher to spot and identify a bald eagle. This iconic species can actually be found throughout Canada. The only regions where you won’t see them is those within the Arctic tundra. Their habitat also extends south of the border in the U.S. Bald eagles are a rare sight in heavily populated areas. But they thrive in wilderness areas. This includes the vast wilderness of British Columbia.
Bald eagles have one of the largest wingspans of any bird species in North America. Adult bald eagles have an easily recognizable white head with dark brown bodies and wings and a bright yellow beak. Younger eagles are tougher to spot. In addition to their smaller size, they also have brown heads and bodies and lack the iconic white head and tail. In addition to looking out for an eagle in the sky, be sure to keep your eyes on the treetops; the oversized nests of bald eagles, located near waterways, are also easy to spot.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from the bald eagle is one of British Columbia’s smaller residents. The Anna’s Hummingbird may be small, but don’t mistake it for being weak. This species resides in British Columbia all year long, even weathering the cold, snowy winter months.
Identifiable by their bright green and pink feathers, fast wings, and long, straight bill, the Anna’s Hummingbird isn’t the smallest hummingbird species in the region—that title belongs to the Rufous Hummingbird, which is slightly smaller. Hummingbirds of all species are tough to spot, thanks to their small size and how quickly they move. But keep your eyes open and look for a blur near trees and shrubs, and you might just get lucky.
Another fairly rare sight is the Barred Owl. But if you happen to hear the tell-tale “who, who” call, this next species will be easier to spot than an Anna’s Hummingbird. Their large, stocky bodies are covered in a mottled mix of brown and white, and they have large, very dark eyes that appear black.
While you might occasionally hear them calling during the daytime, Barred Owls are the most active at night, when they go out in search of small rodents. Their dark coloring can make them tough to spot in the trees, but their larger bodies make them easy to identify if you happen to see one taking to the air.
Chestnut Backed Chickadee
While it’s exciting to spot a bald eagle or Barred Owl during your visit to Sointula Lodge, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for more common bird species. The Chestnut Backed Chickadee is a common sight throughout British Columbia. They’re no larger than the size of a man’s fist, but their cheerful cheeping can be heard ringing through the air throughout the spring and summer.
To identify Chestnut Backed Chickadees from other local species, look for their dark brown heads with white stripes on either side of their face.
Another bird that you’ll likely hear, if not see, during your visit is the Downy Woodpecker. This is the smallest, as well as the most common woodpecker species in North America. They’re common on the southern coast of British Columbia. Their black wings are peppered with bright white spots, and their faces feature white and black stripes and a bright tuft of red near the back of their skull.
Like other woodpecker species, the Downy Woodpecker bores holes in trees, making the tell-tale pecking sound that will ring out in quiet woods. They aren’t picky about their tree species, so listen for them any time you’re near the shore or exploring Malcolm Island.
Spotting Birds During Your Visit to Sointula Lodge
Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher eager to catch sight of a rare creature or you just want to take in as much as you can during your visit, spotting a bald eagle or any other unique bird species is always exciting. In between casting a line or snapping photos of wildlife on land and in the water, be sure to look up and scan the skies for one of these and other species that call the region home.
If you haven’t already booked your spot at Sointula Lodge in 2022, now is the time to do so. Spaces will fill fast, so book your stay today to guarantee your dates!