Don’t miss stopping at Vaseux Lake Bird Sanctuary. It is a hidden gem in the beautiful Okanagan Valley.
This important conservation area provides excellent Okanagan bird watching and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Picturesque Vaseux Lake and the peaceful walking trails offer plenty of great photo possibilities. Walk through arid grasslands of sagebrush and antelope-brush, marsh and birch woodlands. Take in views of the lake, rugged rock cliffs and ponderosa pine.
Learn about Vaseux Lake Bird Sanctuary
The Grasslands and Wetlands
Take advantage of the natural beauty of Vaseux Lake Bird Sanctuary. Enjoy the stillness and the sounds of singing birds. It’s a perfect place to gather your thoughts and find peace within.
Look around and marvel at the fact that you are surrounded by a critical habitat for many at risk species. Find out more about this fragile, important ecosystem.
The rapidly disappearing grasslands is home to the most threatened plant life in Canada, the Antelope-brush. There are 12 rare plants and 31 Blue or Red listed species that need grassland ecosystems to survive.
The Wetland and Riparian habitat is threatened and more Blue and Red listed species will rapidly decline. The Sandhill Crane, Tiger Salamander, Painted Turtle and Great Blue Heron are some of the species depending on this environment.
Vaseux Lake Important Bird Area
Vaseux Lake is a designated Important Bird Area. The bird sanctuary helps provide several Canadian at risk bird species an area for nesting, feeding, resting and overwintering during migration.
It is the perfect spot for Okanagan birdwatching.
There are 11,000 IBA sites worldwide. Find out more about the State of the World’s Birds current conservation status and why birds are declining on the report produced by BirdLife International.
Vaseux Lake Birdwatching
The Vaseux Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary was originally created as a protected habitat for Trumpeter Swans and is now important for a number of other species.
Great Blue Herons and Common Loons have been spotted on the lake as well as nesting Canada Geese.
Look for rare sightings of Western Screech and Flammulated Owls or Lewis’s and White-headed Woodpecker. Listen for the songs of the Yellow-breasted Chats in the lake’s surrounding shrubs before they migrate to Mexico for the winter.
Click on the links above to listen to the unique sounds of each bird. Allaboutbirds.org created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a one of the best online guides to birds and bird watching.
Vaseux Lake Observatory banding station
The Vaseux Lake Observatory banding station is open to the public every morning from dusk to noon, August 1 to September 15. There were 93 birds of 16 species banded on the slowest week of the fall migration last October.
Find out more about the program and the different birds banded during the 2019 season on the weekly Vaseux Lake Observatory blog.
There are several easy trails to follow. The boardwalk will lead you to a two-level viewing platform.
Stop and enjoy the scenery on one of the few benches. Stay on the trails to avoid damaging this fragile area. Watch out for poison ivy.
Learn more about what to do if you come into contact with poison ivy.
The South Okanagan-Simikameen area has some of the rarest and most vulnerable mammals.
The Vaseux-Bighorn National Wildlife Area extends into the sanctuary. Mountain goats and California bighorn sheep can sometimes be seen on the rocky ridge overlooking the lake.
The best time to view these animals is in the spring and fall.
People do not often see bats, but there are 14 different species living in the area. The rugged cliffs are likely home to two nationally threatened species. The rare pallid bat feeds on scorpions and insects while the spotted bat feeds mostly on moths.
There are seven different types of snakes, including the pacific rattlesnake. The pacific rattlesnake’s bite can be dangerous. The snake will not attack unless it is provoked.
The nationally endangered nocturnal night snake is one of Canada’s smallest and rarest snakes.
Vaseux Lake Activities
- Fish for rainbow trout, carp and large mouth bass in Vaseux Lake. Check the fishing licence regulations.
- The lake offers a perfect setting for canoeing or kayaking.
- There is a small area with two picnic tables to enjoy a picnic.
- Swim from the beach area near the campsite. Be cautious. There are no lifeguards and swimming is at your own risk.
Getting to Vaseux Lake Bird Sanctuary and Vaseux Lake Provincial Park
Vaseux Lake is located on Hwy. 97, 5 kms south of Okanagan Falls and 15 kms north of Oliver in the Okanagan Valley.
There is a small parking lot on the west side of Hwy. 97.
If you would like to help with bird conservation efforts in British Columbia, contact BC Nature, Bird Studies Canada, or BirdLife International.
- There are 11,000 designated Important Bird Areas in the world.
- There is 1,000 square metres of beach to enjoy near the camping area.
- Fourteen different varieties of bats frequent the area.
- Seven types of snakes live in the region.
Camping Vaseux Lake Provincial Park
Campsites are be available in Vaseux Lake Provincial Park. Check the latest information.
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