Life Bird: The Advantages of Hiring a Local Guide


With the arrival of the Common Nighthawk, one of the last arrivals, virtually all the migrating birds have returned to the Okanagan Valley. Undoubtedly this is one of the very most important breeding areas in all of Canada; with almost 200 species breeding here it is a critical environment for our avian friends.

One June 15, 2010 I led a bird watching and nature adventure tour with a couple from Calgary, who are very experienced birders. We were able to hit up several hot spots and ended the day with 78 species, including Lazuli Buntings, Yellow Breasted Chat, Long Billed Curlews, Bobolinks, Brewer’s and Vesper Sparrows, Calliope Hummingbirds, Red Naped Sapsuckers and Western Wood Pewee.

Williamson's Sapsucker

Williamson’s Sapsucker

However, the best was saved for last—we got a Williamson’s Sapsucker, a Life Bird. This made the whole tour, both my guests came away very satisfied having struck off another bird on their life list. They now have “Bragging Rights” which they will share back home amongst their fellow birders.

In talking with this couple, it is obvious that they were quite familiar with the South Okanagan and had visited several birding areas. So what motivated them to hire a guide? It probably had something to do with “Value Added” which local people bring to the table.

Any time that one sets out into unknown territory, there are many risks that are present, for instance wildlife (bears and rattlesnakes), getting lost, an injury or unstable terrain. For some the fear of mitigating these risks is more than warranted through hiring a guide.

If you have limited time or are looking for a specific bird, like the Williamson’s Sapsucker, it’s more effective to engage the services of a local guide.

A well informed guide will truly make your next birding adventure a very memorable one, by providing behind the scenes information which can be woven into stories bringing credibility and inspiration.

About Greg Byron

Greg Byron, orginally from Montreal, now resides in the South Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada's only desert. He operates an Ecotourism business, Great Horned Owl Eco Tours, and focusses on bird watching and nature adventure tours. In order to deliver unique and experiential tours greg has have become very driven to understand all of the plants and animals which reside in the Okanagan along with Natural History, geology and issues surrounding water sustainability and climate change. Another gem about the Okanagan that isn't too well known is bird watching; with over 300 species the Okanagan is one of the premiere bird watching areas in all of Canada. As an avid birdwatcher, when guests go on his bird watching tour one of his goals is to find for them a "Life Bird". In Greg's backyard can be found 10% of Canada's endangered species including: Williamson's Sapsuckers, Lark Sparrows, White Headed Woodpeckers, Yellow Breasted Chats and Western Screech Owls. Check out my photostream on Flickr
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One Response to Life Bird: The Advantages of Hiring a Local Guide

  1. Great post, Greg. Congratulations on the life bird!

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