Birding Locations

Recommended birding locations and hotspots in and beyond Calgary

Located at the intersection between the foothills and prairies, Calgary is nearby to ecological regions ranging from rugged mountains to grasslands. If you’re looking for a particular species in or around Calgary, have a look at our species locator page and search by species.

The regions surrounding Calgary, Alberta

 

Calgary

Along the Bow River in winter – ducks, owls, eagles

Beaverdam Flats Park – waterfowl, owls, eagles

Carburn Park – waterfowl, owls, eagles

Bowness Park – migrant warblers

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary – migrant warblers, woodpeckers, gulls, waterfowl

Confederation Park – migrant warblers

Edworthy Park, Lawrey Gardens & Douglas Fir Trail – sora, passerines

Glenmore Reservoir and Weaselhead Natural Area – Tundra and Trumpeter Swans on lake during migration; hummingbirds, passerines in riparian woodland

Nose Hill Park – raptors, passerines in ravines

University of Calgary Campus – passerines and peregrines

Fish Creek Provincial Park – warblers, waterfowl, raptors, Pileated Woodpecker, Great Horned Owl.

 


Prairies

Southeast “off the beaten track”– sandpipers, pipits, curlew, raptors, grasslands species

Northeast “off the beaten track”– shorebirds, waterfowl

Weed Lake – shorebirds during migration, pelicans, waterfowl, raptors

Langdon Reservoir (Dalemead)/Wyndham-Carseland Provincial Park – pelicans, waterfowl

Namaka Lake – geese and swans during migration, shorebirds, waterfowl

McElroy Slough – waterfowl, shorebirds

Eagle Lake – shorebirds, terns, waterfowl, cranes and geese during migration, snowy owls

Sadler’s Slough – waterfowl, shorebirds

Irricana area, Bruce Lake, Langdon Slough – waterfowl during migration

Frank Lake – waterfowl during migration, white-faced ibis, gulls, swans, marsh wren.

Red Deer area – sloughs, nature centres and sanctuaries for many species including sandhill crane

 

Southeastern Alberta

Drumheller area – Say’s phoebe, Bank Swallow, falcons, Gray Catbird, Mourning Dove,…

Dinosaur Provincial Park – Lark Sparrow, Rock Wren, raptors, passerines, dawn chorus

Kinbrook Island Prov. Park and Lake Newell – passerines, waterfowl, Pelican, godwits, herons

Brooks area – Longspurs, waterfowl, shorebirds, herons

Wolf Lake and Crawling Valley Reservoir – geese and peeps during migration, waterfowl, shorebirds, Northern Shrike, grassland species

McGregor Lake – important staging area for migrating waterfowl.

Deep Southeastern Alberta – this links to Grasslands Naturalists  website (a Southeast Alberta Nature Club) and shows a map of the Southeastern Alberta Birding Trails Guide.  Thank you for the work done to produce this helpful guide.

 

Foothills

Cochrane and Northwest “off the beaten track” – Northern Hawk Owl, boreal passerines

Southwest “off the beaten track” – owls, warblers, empids, sparrows, Townsends Solitaire

Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area – raptors, grassland species

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park – grouse, raptors, hummingbirds, sparrows

Grand Valley Road & Springbank Raptor Route – eagles, hawks, bluebirds, owls

Water Valley area – owling, raptors, crossbills

Water Valley area: May 2014 presentation with more areas. (Very large file takes 60-90 sec. to download) — Sandhill Cranes, warblers, owls, hummingbirds, Northern Waterthrush, vireos, grouse, flycatchers.

Forestry Trunk Road – migrating raptors, Rosy Finch

Brown-Lowery Provincial Park and area – woodpeckers, forest birds

Bow Valley Provincial Park – osprey, warblers, chickadees, hummingbirds

Sibbald Creek Trail and area – owls, ducks, crossbills

Highwood Valley – Mountain Bluebird, hawks, eagles, hummingbirds

 

Southern Rockies

Sheep River Provincial Park – raptor migration route

Lac des Arcs – tundra swans in migration, ducks, eagles

Smith-Dorrien Trail & Spray Valley – subalpine and alpine species

Kananaskis Valley – Golden Eagle migration route; alpine species

Cave and Basin Marsh – crossbills, kinglets, chickadees,

Fenland Trail and Vermillion Lakes Drive – migrant waterfowl, warblers, Snow Bunting

Johnston Canyon – Black Swift, American Dipper, Winter Wren

Muleshoe Picnic Area – Hammond’s Flycatcher, Blue Grouse, Spruce Grouse

Sunshine Meadows – Rosy Finch, American Pipit, alpine species

Lake Louise area – Steller’s Jay, alpine species

 

Books and resources

A Birdfinding Guide to the Calgary Region (1993)
Most of the locations above come from A Birdfinding Guide to the Calgary Region (published in 1993 by the Calgary Field Naturalists’ Society, edited by Joan F. McDonald). The guide is currently out of print but it can be borrowed from the Calgary Public Library.

Calgary’s Natural Parks: Yours to Explore (2006)
Another resource is Calgary’s Natural Parks: Yours to Explore (by Jim Foley and published in 2006 by the Calgary Field Naturalists’ Society). This book is currently out of print, but it gives a comprehensive overview of the history, development and wildlife in Calgary’s parks. There is also information on park access, trail maps and photos.