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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.