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Where the Birds Are

February 22:        Ever wonder what makes those huge rectangular holes in the trees around Creston?? PILEATED WOODPECKERS are found near mature cottonwoods around the Kootenay River, Goat River, Boundary Creek, and Summit Creek. This species prefers the older or dying trees for foraging, roosting, and nesting. In the winter these birds are attracted to suet feeders in town, fruit trees (especially apple), and grapes.  

Our largest woodpecker, this spectacular crow-sized species has a prominent red crest with a black back, broad black and white wings, and a long tail.  

February 15:      AMERICAN GOLDFINCH are common visitors in the winter especially at feeders. They are present year-round with flocks forming after the breeding season and remaining intact throughout the winter. Flocks of up to 200 birds have been seen.  

February 8:      There are numerous NORTHERN PYGMY OWLS in the Creston Valley right now!  During the winter months, these owls move from forested mountainous slopes to lower elevations where they become more conspicuous, especially because they are diurnal hunters.  Watch for them perched on utility wires and poles, in cottonwoods, or on a snag.  They could be found near bird-feeding stations hunting prey, or in hay sheds hunting mice.  

At the moment, they are vocalizing.  Listen for monotonous repeated single or double toots.  

It is a small, compact owl (6.75" in length) with a relatively long tail which is often jerked sideways and short wings.  The white throat is obvious on a calling bird.  On the back of its head are false eye-spots.  The belly has narrow blackish streaks.


 February 1:      MERLINS can be found in the Creston Valley's residential areas where there are mature conifers and deciduous woodlands. Recently, Karen Douville has seen one near the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Erickson.  


According to Linda Van Damme's new book "A Passion for Birds - their life in the Creston Valley", Merlins will hunt near open fields and can be seen pursuing avian prey such as Eurasian-Collared Doves, Flickers, Robins, House Finch, and Bohemian Waxwings.  

These falcons are small, compact, powerful, and very aggressive! Look for the dark tail-band and "mustache". 

 January 25:      A TOWNSEND"S SOLITAIRE can be seen feeding on berries along the Devon Trail in town.

This medium-sized thrush (same family as bluebirds and robins) is very dull gray but has a distinctive white eye-ring, buffy wing stripes, and white edges on the tail feathers which are evident in flight.

They like to perch upright atop trees and shrubs to advertise their territories and often sit motionless for a long time. Although fairly inconspicuous, their sweet jumbling song is often the best way to track them.

This is the only Solitaire found in Canada. #birds #crestonbirdfestival #crestonbc #crestontrails #crestonrotary


 January 18:    The bold and inquisitive Black-Capped CHICKADEE is the most common species seen as well as heard around town and in birdfeeders. But also look in the woods for the Mountain Chickadee and the Chestnut-backed Chickadee!!!  

Mountain Chickadees have a white supercilium above their eyes with a similar song to the Black-capped but with 3-6 syllables. The "chika dzee dzee" notes are slightly harsher, slower, and often descending.   Chestnut-backed Chickadees love coniferous forests and mixed woods. It is our smallest chickadee with a unique dark chestnut back. Calls are generally higher with buzzy notes. 



 January 11:    CROSSBILLS are found in single-species flocks wandering erratically in search of food, mainly the cones of pines, spruces, and firs. Seeds are pried out using the unique crossed bill tip!  

White-winged Crossbills have been sighted on the Lakeview Arrow Creek Road. They prefer smaller cones mainly larch, hemlock, and spruce.
Red Crossbills have been sighted in the forests of Lister, Erickson, and West Creston.   


 January 4:    There are 4 species of GREBES on Kootenay Lake this week:  

Pied-Billed: smallest, thick bill, dark eye  
Horned: flat-topped head, white neck, red eye  
Red-Necked: stocky, heavy bill, thick neck, dark eye  
Western: largest, slender with long neck, red eye .  



December 28:  Northern Shrikes are being spotted throughout the valley.  

Photo taken at Leach Lake by Marc-Andre Beaucher during the Christmas Bird Count on December 27th. But they have also been seen in Canyon, Duck Lake, Wynndel Flats, and West Creston Flats

 December 21:  Goat River Road S. to find California Quail.

This is also a good road to view Christmas lights in the evening. Merry Christmas Everyone - stay safe, healthy, and happy.  

 December 14th:  "Hawksview" aka. Kootenay-River Road where you can find Rough-legged Hawks and Red-tailed Hawks!

What to look for:  RLHA will have a distinctive pattern of dark wrists and the primaries are always clean white.  RTHA adults have the distinctive red tail and a streaked belly-band


 December 7th, 2020:  The Great-Blue Herons are once again skating and ice-fishing on Duck Lake!!

November 29th, 2020:  ICELAND GULL at Kuskanook Harbour. Rare bird alert!!!
What to look for: overall light gray  darker patch on face  all black bill (for a first year)  upper flight feathers brownish and darker on mantle

November 23rd:  The Short-Eared Owls returned to Duck Lake.