Bird Watching

Kelowna's Winter Birdwatching Guide

A close-up of an owl perched on a branch amid dried plants in BC.

Kelowna transforms into a wonderland for birdwatching enthusiasts as winter sets in. The crisp, chilly air and serene landscapes provide a backdrop for an array of bird species, making winter in Kelowna a unique and captivating time for birdwatching.

Top Birdwatching Spots in Kelowna

Rotary Marsh Bird Sanctuary

This sanctuary, located at the confluence of Brandt's Creek and Okanagan Lake, offers an exquisite blend of man-made and natural environments. Accessible through Waterfront Park or Sunset Drive, it's a spot where the chirps and songs of birds resonate, offering a peaceful escape.

Chichester Bird Sanctuary

A short journey from Rutland Road onto Fitzpatrick Road leads to the Chichester Bird Sanctuary. Follow the trails through the tranquil ponds, a secret world of avian life waiting to be discovered.

Carney Pond

Carney Pond, along the Okanagan Rail Trail, is a must-visit for bird enthusiasts. Accessible from Lougheed Road, the journey itself is as beautiful as the destination, with the pond often bustling with waterbirds.

Maude – Roxby Bird Sanctuary

Hidden at the end of Francis Ave, this sanctuary is a quiet retreat in Kelowna. The walkway winds through habitats teeming with birds, offering a peaceful commune with nature.

Munson’s Pond

Munson’s Pond, a small but great spot, is accessible via Benvoulin and Munson’s Road. Here, the water surface is often dotted with a variety of waterbirds, creating a lively spectacle.

Robert Lake

For shorebird enthusiasts, Robert Lake is a paradise. Located off Valley Road, it's renowned as one of the finest areas for shorebirds in the interior of BC, offering a unique birdwatching experience.

Winter Bird Species in Kelowna

The winter season in Kelowna welcomes a diverse range of bird species:

  • Water Birds: The lakes of Kelowna come alive with the graceful presence of Cormorants and Buffleheads, along with an array of ducks, including Northern Pintails, Wigeons, and Green-winged Teal.
  • Sea Ducks: The majestic Common and Barrow’s Goldeneye, along with various Mergansers and Scoters, are a common sight, adding a touch of elegance to the winter waters.
  • Shorebirds: Watch for the rhythmic dance of the Dunlin, the swift Sanderling, and the stately Black-bellied Plover along the shores.
  • Raptors: The skies are ruled by majestic Bald Eagles and stealthy Northern Harriers, while the fields may reveal the rare sight of a short-eared Owl in daylight.
  • Other Species: The landscape is peppered with American Coots, Grebes, and the elusive Northern Shrikes. Look out for the Pine Grosbeaks, Chestnut-Backed Chickadees, and the tiny, fleet Golden-Crowned Kinglets.

Winter Birdwatching Tips

Dress warmly in layers to brave the chilly winds, and don’t forget waterproof gloves and a rain jacket. For photography enthusiasts, winter offers softer lighting and longer “golden hours” for capturing stunning bird images. Protect your camera from the cold and moisture, and bring spare batteries to ensure you don't miss a moment.

Conservation and Respect for Nature

When exploring Kelowna's birdwatching spots, it's vital to respect the natural habitats and adhere to any guidelines. Be mindful of private properties and preserve the peacefulness of these natural retreats for both the birds and fellow birdwatchers.


Winter birdwatching in Kelowna is not just a hobby; it's an adventure into nature, offering a serene yet vivid experience. As you step into this avian world, let the beauty and diversity of the birds and their habitats inspire a deeper appreciation for Kelowna’s natural wonders.