Published in partnership with VisitCoquitlam.ca
If you’ve been spending a lot of time at home you may have noticed migrating birds returning to the skies, fence posts and trees. Backyard birding is the new block party. So, just what have you seen?
Many of these birds you may see from your balcony or in your yard, but if you venture outdoors, birding is an activity you can enjoy while social distancing. In fact, most birds are active early in the morning so by getting an early start you’ll have a better chance of hearing and seeing them, as well as encountering fewer people along the way.
Backyard Birding in Coquitlam:
Ones to Watch This Spring
Here are some fun facts about some of the coolest birdlife to look out for this spring, particularly if you live in the Tri-Cities.
The osprey has recently been spotted at Coquitlam’s Como Lake. As well, an osprey is building a nest on one of the pilings on the Pitt River, which can be viewed from the north side of DeBoville Slough. This migratory raptor travels to South America in the winter and returns to Canada in the spring to mate. Fun fact: To hunt their prey (fish), osprey will hover over the water, fold their wings and dramatically dive into the water to catch the fish in their talons.
The Peregrine Falcon has sharp talons and beaks and they eat mostly small seabirds and small mammals. They can dive at over 300 kilometres per hour. Fun fact: The sound peregrines make to call to each other sounds like “we-chew”.
Here in Metro Vancouver, Bald Eagles are one of the most formidable raptors to see in the wild. They have a white feathered head, grow to about one metre tall with their wingspan potentially reaching over two metres. The largest populations live in B.C. and Alaska. You may see them soaring overhead, often near bodies of water, such as Coquitlam’s DeBoville Slough. Did you know? Bald Eagles were removed from the endangered species list in 1995.
Great Blue Heron
The Great Blue Heron is a tall wading bird with long legs and blue-grey features. They can grow to be over 1.2 metres tall and are often spotted around marshes or creeks. In flight, their wingspan of 1.8 metres is an impressive sight.
Mallard Ducklings & Canada Goose Goslings
Hopefully not in your backyards, but this is the time of year when you’ll see ducklings and goslings at local parks or near waterways.
Mountain Bluebirds are small thrushes seen in the area in the early spring. They stop by to forage for up to several weeks at local birding locations, such as Colony Farm Regional Park, before heading off to the Okanagan to mate and nest. The males have a spectacular sky blue colour, whereas the females are mostly gray-brown with tinges of pale blue on the wings and tail. Fun fact: Mountain Bluebirds hover while foraging and pounce on their insect prey.
Backyard Birding in Coquitlam:
What Have You Seen?
Gary Houghton is a nature enthusiast who has been observing the local birdlife and their social interactions. He takes photographs to later research the species.
“The birds provide good photographic challenges in terms of technique and help me develop my skills. I’m also learning more of the features on my camera. And there is always the hope that I’ll manage to capture an image of some rare visitor to the region,” he says.
Have you seen any curious birdlife in Coquitlam? Tourism Coquitlam would love to see your photos! Share on social media by tagging #explorecoquitlam and @visitcoquitlam or email them to [email protected].
At this time of the year, as more migrant songbirds return to our area, they present their breeding colours, particularly the males. This is a good time to be on the lookout for these colourful birds. Here is list of some local favourites to keep an eye out for.
See how many of the birds in this list you can spot:
- American Coot
- American Goldfinch
- American Robin
- American Widgeon
- Anna’s Hummingbird
- Bald Eagle
- Black-capped Chickadee
- Brown Creeper
- Cackling Goose
- Common Goldeneye
- Common Merganser
- Common Yellowthroat
- Dark-eyed Junco
- European Starling
- Golden-crowned Kinglet
- Golden-crowned Sparrow
- Great Blue Heron
- Green-winged Teal
- Hooded Merganser
- House Finch
- Northern Flicker
- Northern Rough-winged Swallow
- Northern Shoveler
- Northwestern Crow
- Orange-crown Warbler
- Pacific Wren
- Pied-billed Grebe
- Pine Siskin
- Red-tailed Hawk
- Red-winged Blackbird
- Ring-necked Duck
- Ruby-crowned Kinglet
- Rufous Hummingbird
- Song Sparrow
- Spotted Towhee
- Tree Swallow
- Violet-Green Swallow
- White-crowned Sparrow
- Wood Duck
- Yellow-rumped Warbler (both the Audubon and Myrtle sub-species)
Tip: The go-to website for birding is ebird.org, where you can enter your region and see a list of birds recently spotted there. Another great website is inaturalist.org, where you can zoom in on the map to see the different species observed in your area.
Learn More about Birds in Our Region
- Access free bird checklists, brochures and booklets on the Burke Mountain Naturalist’s website (based in Coquitlam).
- Read the Discover Nature in the Tri-Cities guide book.
- View recent bird sightings and photos as reported on iNaturalist by local birders.
- Search ebird.org Canada to see sightings in your neighbourhood.
- Follow the Burke Mountain Naturalist’s Birding page.
- One of the most comprehensive sites for information about birds is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s allaboutbirds.org.
Feeling hungry after all this bird searching? Check out all the Coquitlam businesses offering takeout and delivery, and for more ideas about how you can explore Coquitlam from your home.
Tourism Coquitlam is committed to the safety of our community. Like you, we’re passionate about exploring Coquitlam and British Columbia. But now is not the time to travel. Please explore close to home and follow the advice of health authorities to keep yourself and others safe. Do your part now, so we can all explore again later.
For even more activities and take-out inspiration, follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and check out VisitCoquitlam.ca »