Birds & Wildlife
There is an abundance of wildlife across the entire Chilcotin and Great Bear Rainforest. Grizzly Bears and black bears are popular and their habitat extends across the region, however they are particularly evident in the Bella Coola Valley especially in late summer and fall as the salmon run upstream. There are bear viewing tours in the Valley, and the Belarko Viewing Platform in Tweedsmuir Park is open throughout September. The Valley is also home to eagles, wolves, deer, and once you get out onto the ocean fjords, orca whales, humpback, seals, sea lions, otter, and dolphins can make an appearance.
Itcha Ilgachuz Park in the West Chilcotin is home to the largest herd of woodland caribou in southern BC, which occasionally venture down onto the surrounding plateau. At higher altitudes you will also see mountain goats. Timber wolves are common throughout the Chilcotin, as well as moose, deer, cougar, coyote, fox, mink, marmot, lynx, and wolverine. Not to mention the ubiquitous chipmunks and squirrels.
The Chilcotin Grasslands around Junction Sheep Range Park (near Riske Creek in the eastern part of the Chilcotin) is home to the largest herd of non-migratory California bighorn sheep in the world, as well as many of the other large mammals of the Chilcotin.
The high elevation plateau of the Chilcotin supports a huge array of birdlife much too numerous to mention. This area is part of the Pacific Flyway migration route, so dozens of different species can appear throughout the year. American white pelicans make their nests here in summer, and trumpeter swans were brought back from the brink of extinction in Tweedsmuir Park by Ralph Edwards during the 1950s. Many species of woodpecker are common including the large piliated woodpecker, as well as barn swallows, cliff swallows, and tree swallows, mountain bluebirds, rufous hummingbirds, loons, blue herons, sandhill cranes, American bitterns, and many species of ducks and songbirds.
May is a great month to see the multitude of bird species that are migrating through the region, but a wide variety can be viewed at any time of year. It it truly a birdwatcher's paradise.