Bird Watching

Birdwatching by Boat: Discovering Kelowna's Avian Residents on Okanagan Lake

A ferry approaching the shore of a calm lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains in Vernon, with two people standing near the dock.


Gliding over the crystal-clear waters of Okanagan Lake, birdwatchers are treated to a symphony of nature, where feathered residents display their majestic beauty. Kelowna, with its diverse ecosystems, offers an unparalleled birdwatching adventure by boat, presenting a serene yet lively tableau of avian life.

Birdwatching in Kelowna

Kelowna emerges as a premier destination for birdwatching enthusiasts. The region’s varied landscapes, from lush forests to serene wetlands, create an ideal habitat for a myriad of bird species. Local sanctuaries like the Rotary Marsh Park, Maude-Roxby Wetland, and Chichester Wetland Park provide easy access to these feathered wonders. The proximity of these sites to Okanagan Lake enhances the experience, allowing birdwatchers to immerse themselves in nature’s splendour.

Popular Bird Species in the Okanagan Valley

The Okanagan Valley, a birdwatcher's paradise, is home to over 300 bird species. Enthusiasts may spot hummingbirds, majestic great blue herons, and even the elegant trumpeter swans. The area is also an oasis for colourful species like the Lazuli Bunting, Bluebirds, and the striking Cedar and Bohemian Waxwings. The Pygmy Owl, a daytime hunter, and the rare Long-Tailed Jaeger add to the region's birding allure. Not to forget, the California Quail, with its distinctive topknot, can often be seen rustling through the underbrush.

Boat Tours on Okanagan Lake

Boat tours on Okanagan Lake offer an exceptional vantage point for birdwatching. Popular options include pontoon boat cruises, which allow for a leisurely exploration of the lake's vast expanse. Companies like Beach Bum Tours offer tailored experiences, with boats accommodating up to 12 passengers, ensuring a comfortable and intimate birdwatching journey. These tours not only provide an opportunity to witness the region's birdlife but also offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

Birdwatching Experience by Boat

Observing birds from the tranquil waters of Okanagan Lake offers a unique perspective. The calmness of the lake at dawn or dusk provides perfect conditions for birdwatching. Boaters can access remote areas, home to diverse bird species, otherwise unreachable. It’s a peaceful communion with nature, where the only sounds are the gentle lapping of water and the melodious calls of birds. Safety and respect for wildlife are paramount, ensuring a responsible and enjoyable birdwatching experience.

Practical Information and Planning

For those planning a birdwatching excursion by boat, spring and fall are ideal due to migration seasons, offering a chance to see a wide variety of species. Winter also presents unique opportunities, with species like Bald Eagles and Snowy Owls making an appearance. Booking a boat tour is straightforward, with various options available to suit different preferences and group sizes. As stewards of nature, birdwatchers are encouraged to observe responsibly, maintaining the pristine beauty of Kelowna's natural habitats.


Birdwatching by boat on Okanagan Lake is more than just an activity; it’s an experience that connects one with the serene beauty of Kelowna and its avian wonders. It's an invitation to slow down, observe, and appreciate the delicate balance of nature. Whether you’re a seasoned birder or a curious explorer, this journey promises to be a memorable one, filled with the sights and sounds of nature’s finest performers.