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Bird Watching

Kootenay Lake and especially the Crawford Bay alluvial fan (Birds of Crawford Bay Wetlands) is a valuable link in a chain of wetlands extending from the Arctic Ocean to California including the globally recognized Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area which is second only to the coast as a flyway route for numbers of migrating waterfowl. It provides migratory and permanent habitat for at least 92 bird species, including many ducks and geese, Sora, Bittern and Warbling Vireo and increasing numbers of Trumpeter Swans, blue or red-listed species such as the Great blue Heron, Western Screech Owl, Bald Eagle and more. The increasingly rare stands of Black Cottonwoods (Populus balsamifera ssp. Trichocarpa) serve as viable habitat for breeding Western Screech Owls (Megascops kennicottii),which have been sighted in the area of concern (Breeding Bird atlas). There are acres of skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) throughout these riparian zones which support waking black and grizzly bears in the early spring for forage. It is also breeding grounds for the Western Toad, Western Painted Turtle and White Sturgeon.