The wetlands, leafy forests, and rugged alpine tundra of Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve are a haven for many bird species. Some inhabit the park year round, but many more arrive as migrants during the summer months, coming to breed in the park, or en route to the Far North. Their honks, screeches, tweets, and songs create a vivid soundscape at this time, and opportunities for bird watching abound. Avid birders can delight in observing a variety of waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds and raptors in habitats throughout the park.
Lakes teem with migratory waterfowl. Majestic tundra swans meander around quiet bays, while ducks and scoters engage in raucous courtship displays. Pairs of loons are an iconic sight, making their forlorn calls at dusk and dawn. Along the shoreline, plovers, sandpipers, yellowlegs, and gulls make their nests and search for insects and other food. Take care not to step on these species’ nests – they are usually on the ground and can be well-camouflaged.
Forests feature melodies of sparrows, warblers, and thrushes. Hearing the garbled hoots of male willow ptarmigans as they search for their mates is a unique highlight!
Soaring above the valley floors, raptors like eagles, hawks, and falcons stay on the lookout for prey: small mammals and birds. Sometimes it’s possible to get a longer look at bald eagles and osprey when they alight on trees to rest and scan the surrounding landscape.
If you’re an avid ornithologist, check out the 2019 edition of the bird species checklist for Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve. This list includes both potential and confirmed species in the park. It is updated on an annual basis, including information from new sightings. For example, the yellow-billed loon was documented for the first time in the park in 2018. See if you can expand the species list further – and don’t forget to pack your binoculars!