Bird Watching

Waterfowl Wonders: Bird Watching by Kelowna’s Lakes and Wetlands

A colorful duck with striking plumage swims in a tranquil pond amidst tall green reeds in Kelowna.

Kelowna emerges as a paradise for birdwatchers, a place where the gentle symphony of birdsong fills the air against a backdrop of scenic landscapes. This charming city, embraced by diverse habitats from tranquil lakes to thriving wetlands, invites avian enthusiasts to a world teeming with feathered marvels.

Key Bird Watching Locations

Mission Creek Greenway

Mission Creek Greenway, a 16.5-kilometre stretch along Mission Creek, serves as a magnet for bird lovers. Its riparian environment is a hub for species such as the American Goldfinch, Black-capped Chickadee, and the industrious Downy Woodpecker. The intertwining of water and greenery creates an ideal place for these birds, especially during the migratory season.

Robert Lake

Just a stone's throw north of Kelowna's urban pulse lies Robert Lake. This unique saline wetland is an ornithological oasis. It boasts a variety of shorebirds and waterfowl, including the captivating Eared Grebe. The lake's distinct ecosystem makes it a crucial breeding ground and a captivating spot for birdwatchers.

Rotary Marsh Park

In downtown, near the waterfront, Rotary Marsh Park is a serene place amidst the city bustle. Its wetlands allure a diverse array of waterbirds. The park also plays host to a medley of songbirds, creating an enchanting auditory experience for visitors.

Maude Roxby Bird Sanctuary

The Maude Roxby Bird Sanctuary, along the shores of Okanagan Lake, is a year-round birdwatching gem. Its boardwalk meanders through marshland, leading to a viewing platform that delicately protrudes into the lake. Warblers, vireos, and flycatchers are regulars here, offering a mix of avian activity.

Munson Pond

A visit to Munson Pond reveals a birdwatcher’s utopia. With over 225 species sighted, this ecologically significant wetland is ringed by a wide gravel path, allowing for splendid birdwatching opportunities. The pond is a hotspot for both local and migratory birds, making it an essential visit for enthusiasts.

Chichester Wetland Park

Tucked away in Kelowna’s Rutland community, Chichester Wetland Park is a hidden treasure. Despite its urban setting, the park is a hub for over 180 bird species. Its ponds, some home to painted turtles, provide a sanctuary for a variety of birds, including a resident group of Mallards.

Carney Pond

Carney Pond, with its cattail marsh ecosystem, supports a diverse bird population. Visitors can observe waterfowl on the pond, waders along the shoreline, and songbirds in the surrounding forest. This peaceful spot is accessible via a short walk along the Okanagan Rail Trail.

John’s Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park

This vast parkland offers panoramic views and diverse birdlife, particularly upland and grassland species. It’s an excellent location for spotting birds of prey and enjoying the natural beauty of Kelowna’s landscape.

Bird Species by Season


Spring brings a burst of life and color to Kelowna's birdwatching scene. Look for the Lazuli Bunting, with its striking blue plumage, and the melodic Yellow Warblers along waterways. Great Blue Herons and agile Tree Swallows grace the wetlands, offering a spectacle of elegance and agility.


Summer in Kelowna is a season of sunny skies and vivid birdwatching. The Western Bluebird, with its brilliant blue plumage, is a highlight. Visitors can also spot Belted Kingfishers along lakeshores and Violet-Green Swallows darting in the sky.


Fall is a rewarding time for birdwatching, as migratory birds traverse the region. Look for the inquisitive California Quails, Common Mergansers, and colourful Wood Ducks. The skies above may reveal Turkey Vultures, Ospreys, and Red-tailed Hawks riding the thermals.


While cooler, winter in Kelowna offers unique birdwatching experiences. Species like Downy Woodpeckers and White-breasted Nuthatches can be observed, along with the hoots of Great Horned Owls and calls of Mountain Chickadees echoing through the forests.

Bird Watching Resources and Events

The Central Okanagan Naturalists' Club is an invaluable resource for bird watchers, offering guided walks and educational programs. The annual Okanagan Birding Festival in May is a highlight, featuring birdwatching tours, seminars, and photography contests. Additionally, local nature groups and companies offer guided birdwatching tours, enriching the experience for enthusiasts.

Tips for Birdwatchers

A good pair of binoculars and a field guide are essential tools for birdwatchers. The best birdwatching experiences in Kelowna are typically found in the spring and fall, aligning with the migration seasons. However, winter also presents unique opportunities to observe species like Bald Eagles and Snowy Owls. For those with a passion for photography, a camera equipped with a good zoom lens is recommended to capture the beauty of these birds in their natural habitats.


Birdwatching in Kelowna is more than a hobby; it's an immersive experience. The city's stunning natural landscapes, coupled with its diverse bird population, offer a unique opportunity to connect with nature. Whether you're a seasoned birdwatcher or a curious novice, Kelowna's lakes and wetlands await, ready to unveil their feathered wonders.