Birds of a Feather

Birding like fishing, often requires long periods of patient contemplation. Armed with a camera, a pair of binoculars and a field guide, a birder can wait for hours for the right photo or the return of a mother to her nest. But like a full strike on the line, the payoff can be enormous.


Many of our clients at the best fishing lodge Haida Gwaii partake in both activities. From the decks of our Grady Whites, guests are entertained with a large variety of sea and shoreline birds. From gulls, to mallards, to the ever-majestic bald eagle, birds surround and entertain the west coast angler.


Here is a quick checklist of some of the unique birds you are likely to see along the coast of Haida Gwaii:


Black Oystercatcher – Seen along the shores for twelve months of the year, the black Oystercatcher stands out from the crowd with its burnt orange beak and its Caucasian pink legs. This little guy scours the shoreline for invertebrates to snack on.


Trumpeter Swan – Far more endearing than the much-hated Canadian Goose, Trumpeter Swans spend their winters in Haida Gwaii and along the coast. They return to Alaska and the Canadian Arctic to mate in the spring. The white with black beak swan is the largest waterfowl in North America. It has a wingspan of up to 7 feet wide. They can be seen in flocks of 10 to 50 along the shoreline.


Great Blue Heron – Like the salmon whose habitat they share, the Great Blue Heron are extremely fond of Pacific herring. Their hunting technique involves standing extremely still until their lightening quick strike. Their ‘s’ shaped neck is the perfect form for compression coil attacks. Their beak can be used for scooping like a pelican or spearing like a…speargun.


Western Grebe – These offshore birds are deftly designed for ‘swimming with the fishes.’ They have the amazing ability to dive straight down at high speeds. This action earned them the nickname of “hell-diver” along with their piercing red eyes. Many a coastal fisherman has a story about having his bait taken by a Grebe or actually hooking into one of these birds. Keep your eyes out and offer a quick prayer if you see the hell-diver swim over your lines.

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