Osoyoos is one of British Columbia’s birding capitals. With our unique desert landscape, warmer temperatures, and rural setting, we have many species of birds that you can find on or off the beaten path!
In 2022, Osoyoos was also added as one of the newest Outposts along the BC Bird Trail. The Osoyoos Outpost – which can be navigated through self-guided tours via the BC Bird Trail Mobile Experience – is well worth exploring for birding adventures. The region’s unique climate and variety of bird habitats, make it an ideal year-round birding destination.
What kinds of birds are in Osoyoos?
Hummingbirds, Osprey, California Quail, White-throated swifts, Great Horned Owls, Western Bluebirds, Red-Tailed Hawks, and Golden Eagles are just a couple of the unique birds that you can find throughout the South Okanagan.
Here are some of the top spots in and around Osoyoos to catch a glimpse at some of British Columbia’s beloved birds:
1. sẁiẁs PROVINCIAL PARK
sẁiẁs Provincial Park is located approximately 2 km (1.25 mi) south of Osoyoos. Upon arriving at the park, you have two choices: you can walk the length of the point, which is a paved, accessible path. Or, enjoy the wetland trail which has footbridges & raised boardwalk sections over the lower-lying gravel areas – making this the ultimate birding spot.
An information kiosk is located at the beginning of the park and provides excellent information on the history of the park in addition to the local wildlife. Please note that while the park is dog friendly (dogs must remain on leash) the wetland trail is not in order to promote the preservation of the trail’s surroundings.
2. OSOYOOS OXBOWS
Located a short, scenic drive through wine country, the Osoyoos Oxbows at Road 22 is another great spot for birding. The wetlands are located in the centre of the valley, with rolling hills surrounding farmland and march. An information kiosk and parking area is found at the Okanagan River Bridge. Walking south toward lake Osoyoos, you can access the Oxbows and spot the many birds that frequent the area.
Alternatively, if you hike (or cycle) north along the International Hike and Bike trail, you’ll follow the river channel for 18 km (11 mi) to McAlpine Bridge north of Oliver and can view an abundance of wildlife along the way!
3. OSOYOOS DESERT CENTRE
The Osoyoos Desert Centre is a 67-acre nature interpretive facility located 3 km north of Osoyoos which focuses on preserving the unique antelope-brush ecosystem which is one of Canada’s most rare, fragile and endangered ecosystems including some unique bird species. Enjoy a guided or self-guided tour along the 1.5 km boardwalk, explore hands-on displays in the interpretive building, and stroll through the native plant garden.
4. NK’MIP DESERT CULTURAL CENTRE
The spectacular Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre (pronounced in-ka-meep) is a state-of-the-art interpretive centre and an architectural marvel sensitively constructed into a hillside. Extensive indoor and outdoor exhibit galleries create a fun, interactive learning environment with hands-on displays, education stations and two multi-media theatre experiences. Discover the fascinating stories of Canada’s desert environment and share in the rich living culture of the Okanagan people.
5. VASEAUX LAKE WILDLIFE CENTRE
Vaseaux Lake, located approximately 34 km north of Osoyoos on Highway 97 is a birder’s haven. Motorized watercraft are restricted which allows for minimal noise and disruption on the lake. Surrounded by beautiful grasslands, the 400-m (1,300-ft) boardwalk trail leads you from the parking lot towards the lake, with informational kiosks explaining the local wildlife. At the end of the boardwalk, birders will find the observation tower and bird blind great for setting up to spot their favourite feathered friends.
These are just a couple of the best spots to bird in Osoyoos. Be sure to check out our full list of walking and hiking trails to explore some more of our nature offerings!