Birding at Allan Brooks Nature Centre
Perched atop a rocky knoll in a remnant native grassland, Allan Brooks Nature Centre is a great place to spot grassland birds like Western Meadowlark, Savannah Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, and Say’s Phoebe. Our nest boxes host Western and Mountain Bluebirds and Tree Swallows, and the vegetation around our small pond usually attracts a single pair each of Red-winged Blackbird, Song Sparrow, and Bullocks’s Oriole. On sunny fall days, our location is ideal for viewing migrating raptors and turkey vultures. Though the centre is closed in winter, the surrounding fields are a hotspot for wintering raptors. It’s common to spot Red-tailed Hawks (including the occasional Harlan’s subspecies), Northern Harriers, and Rough-legged Hawks all in a single visit.
Check out our eBird checklist for a more complete list of the birds you’ll find here!
Birding the Commonage
Make Allan Brooks Nature Centre your first stop on a birding tour of the Commonage (a ridge of land between Okanagan and Kalamalka Lakes), one of the Okanagan Valley’s best birding routes!
A guide to birding the Commonage, written by local bird expert Chris Siddle, can be found here: https://birding.bc.ca/regions/okanagan_valley/guide-vernon.php
Additional stops not mentioned in the above guide include:
Bench Row Road Forest Research Site: 2-3 km of easy walking trails through a mature planted forest can be productive for warblers, owls, and woodpeckers. Parking is available along the shoulder of Bench Row Road.
Predator Ridge: Predator Ridge features a number of short and long walking and hiking trails through dry forest and grassland habitats. The short trail around Birdie Pond includes a viewing platform and can be productive for waterfowl and deciduous forest species. Ask for a trail map at the Recreation Centre.
James Grant Island (Gull Island) Bird Sanctuary: This small rock island visible from Kopje Regional Park is home to a colony of nesting California, Herring, and Glaucous-winged Gulls. A spotting scope is recommended at this stop.