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Animals and Wildlife in British Columbia

humpback whale

British Columbia in Canada is one of the most eye-catching destinations in the world to visit wildlife.

It extends from the west of the Pacific Ocean to the east of the Rockies. More Canadian wildlife is found in British Columbia than any region of Canada, and include a large variety of rare and unique species.

British Columbia is divided into dense forests, glaciers, and peaks, which are home to around 1,100 different species of animals.

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Humpback Whale

animals in british columbia humpback

These whales are one of the biggest concerns in the British Columbia region as these species are under Risk Act, and there are three main threats to these species, which include fishing gear, vessel strikes as well as a shortage of prey as per the Recovery Strategy for North Pacific Humpback Whales in California

Appearance

They are around 16 meters in length and look chubby in body shape. They are mostly grey or black from the upper body side and white from the underside, throat, and fins. Two-thirds of a whale’s body is changeable in shape, which helps Humpback whales to rest and can be visible when they dive. Their trail has white color patches at the underside.

Their pectoral fins help in identifying them. Pectoral fins are around 1/3 of the body, and color can be black or white and are depressed from the edges.

They have knobs on the head which also them in identifying, someone from the distance may get confused, but when these head knobs look closely helps them in clearing the confusion. They have long pleats which are from the lower jaws to the abdomen these long pleats allow them to expand the throat and can fill with food, and water during feeding time.

Behavior

The edges of their tails are curved, which helps them to rise higher while diving deep in the sea. Humpbacks like to live alone, but during feeding time, they come in a group of 10-15 whales.

They breed in the winter season in tropical and subtropical regions.

A male sings songs in these areas to attract female whales. Their gestation is around 11 months and bay humpback whales are born in December or April in North Pacific. Baby whales spend around a year with their mother till they become independent. It is believed that the life span of the humpback whale is around 48 years, but the exact life span is still unknown.

Location

They are found mainly in the summer season in colder coastal water, mostly filled with prey during this season. Also known as “rorqual whales” because of their long pleats.

Where can we find Humpback whales in British Columbia

The best time to see Humpback is summer or spring. These whales spend most of their wintertime in southern warm water in Canada, where baby whales are also born.

They are mostly found at Northern Vancouver Island, North-western coast of Vancouver Island there is Coal Harbour place, Telegraph Cove, Johnstone Strait, and Broughton Archipelago is the places where one can spot humpback whales.

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed deer

Appearance

White-tailed deer are two meters in length and one meter tall. They are mostly reddish brown and grey in color. In the summer season, their back is reddish brown in color, and in the winter season, they are mostly found as greyish brown with a white belly. Male deer weights up to 102kg, and female deer is around 72 kg in weight. 

Their weight may change based on the seasons as well as food in the region. Only male deer have antlers, and every year, they fall off, and a new pair of antlers replaces the old one. Male deer antlers get larger as they age.

Behavior

The average life span of white-tailed deer is ten years. During autumn, they mate, and baby deer are born in the spring. Usually, twins are born, but sometimes it can be quadruplets, triples, or a single baby deer. They are also commonly hunted by humans for food and antlers.

During winter, they eat broken branches of trees which fall on the ground, shrubs like seedling cottonwoods, and snowbrush. They also live in herds due to the limited areas of food as most of the areas are covered with snow. The male deer use their antlers in the breeding season to push away other males.

Location

These deer like areas where there is less snow or not-so-deep snow. They are found from British Columbia to the Nova Scotia region southward. They usually eat grass, but their diet varies as the season changes in summer, they prefer to eat grass, green herbs, and even agricultural crops.

Where we can find White-tailed deer in British Columbia

They are not so easy to find in British Columbia. White-tailed Deer are found in Kootenay and Okanagan regions, majorly in the southmost part of these regions, which is near to US border. They are also found in southern Canada to the South America region. Additionally, they are majorly active during dusk and dawn. They majorly found in the summer season as they don’t like the winter season much due to a shortage of food. 

Great Blue Heron

animals in british columbia Heron

Appearance

Great Blue Heron are around 60cm in height and their wingspan is of 1.5m. Both male and female are similar. They are tall with long legs and have a crooked neck which is “S” curved in shape. Their beak is yellow and black in color with white color head and face. 

The mature birds have steel blue grey color feathers and tail feather is of dark blue grey in color. As the age grows these feathers extends from the eyes to the back of head along with the chest sides. The young one is grey brown in color from the back. Sometimes they are often mistakenly called as “Cranes” due to similar look like Sandhill crane. 

Behavior

During breeding season they found in riparian area, estuaries, lakes and lowland rivers along with streams. In non-breeding season they live on mature trees close to the areas where they can find food. Sometimes they use to live in urban areas too.

They create nest on horizontal branches of trees like Black cottonwood, Bigleaf Maple, or conifers. The Great Blue Heron like to eat fish, some amphibians like green frog, American bullfrog. They eat agricultural crops in winter.

Location

These birds are common all over North and Central America near open water shores and in wetlands. They can also be found in northwestern South America, the Caribbean, and the Galápagos Islands.

Where we can find Great Blue Heron in British Columbia

They are found in lower mainland of British Columbia along with southern part. They found near the coastal areas and swamps regions. There are approximately 6000 great blue herons in British Columbia region. They mostly live in Georgia Depression, coast and mountain regions so it’s better to found in these regions.

Common Loon

animals in british columbia loon

Appearance

The common loon is also known as the Great Northern Diver, which is a large family of loons or family of birds. Breeding adults have a broad black head with a green, purple, or blue color shining neck, and upper parts are black-grey in color.

Behavior

Non-breeding adults have a dark brown neck with dark grey to brown color head. Males and females both are similar in look, but males are heavier than a female loons.

They eat a wide variety of animals like fish, molluscs, and aquatic plants. The common loon used to swallow their hunt under the water where they usually hunt or sometimes on the surface too, based on the size of the animals. They live in nests, both the male and female loons prefer to live in nests during the breeding season. Their eggs are olive-brown in color with brown spots over them. Both parents incubated the egg for about 28 days, and they both feed their bay loon.

Baby loon comes out of eggshells within 70-77 days of the period. Chicks can quickly dive underwater when they are a few days old, and they start flying before the winter season or snowfall. They can be easily found in the breeding season, which is the spring and summer seasons.

The Common Loons are good swimmers and good fish catchers. They can deep dive up to 60 m because of their large web feet and can take long run-up distances to get speed during flight take-offs. During migration time, they swim, dive, and can fly up to hundreds of kilometers to reach their destinations. Their neck expands when they fly. They fly at speeds of 120 km/h during migration time.

Location

They live on lakes and other water areas in British Columbia during their breeding season. In the winter season, they are found near the coast of the USA as well as the South of Mexico

Where can we find Common Loons in British Columbia?

They are mostly seen in the spring and summer seasons near the lakes and waterways of the British Colombia region. They are found in rocky mountains, coastal mountains, and lakes that are filled with water. 

Canada Goose

animals in british columbia goose

Appearance

The Canada Goose has a black color head, and neck with white color cheeks, and the body is brown in color. They are herbivorous but can sometimes eat small fishes or insects and can be found near to freshwater lakes, rivers, or coastal regions. 

Their body size is 30-34 inches, with a wingspan of 4.2 to 5.6 feet, and they weigh approximately 6.6-19.8 pounds.

Behavior

Canada Geese graze in open filed in urban areas or areas where there is no danger to them from any other predators. Their diet mainly contains green food. They are aggressive in behavior toward humans and other animals. Furthermore, they have

Location

These geese are usually found or can be seen during migration time across the Atlantic region. Sometimes they can be found in urban areas because of food and some natural predators. Even in urban areas, they can also pick up food from bins. Sometimes they can be fed by humans in parks, things like grains or other food.

Where can we find Canada Geese in British Columbia?

It is known as one of the best birds found in the British Columbia region. These animals, in British Columbia, during the winter season, are found in farm fields. They are very common in the British Columbia region, so can be easily found at migration time (summer) near the lakes and rivers.

American Bison

animals in british columbia bison

Appearance

North American Bison are also named buffalo and are very large animals. They have a thick dark brown color crown on their head. They can stand up to 2. Tall and weighs up to a ton.

Mainly there are two subspecies of bison one is wood bison and another one is plain bison. The wood bison is somewhat larger and darker in color than the plan bison. Their head area is covered with thick hairs, which are chocolate brown

They have long tails which have small tufts of hair at the end. Because of their beard and heavy shoulders, their heads direct downward. Both males and female bison have horns that are black in color, round, short in length, and in an upward direction.

Behavior

They mainly eat grass but can also eat shrubs, lichens, and twigs. They have a good sense of smell and their heads are quite powerful in analyzing their surrounding environment. According to the Wildlife Act, North American bison and their subspecies are considered endangered species or threatened.  

Location

The northeastern region of British Columbia and the southern region of Yukon are the major regions where they are found.

Where we can find North American Bison in British Columbia

These animals in British Columbia of North American bison bound at the North-eastern region of British Columbia. Some of them are found near the border of the Yukon and Alaska region, and there are approximately around 1,500 bison found in this region. They are also found near Pink Mountain, north of Fort St. John.

Trumpeter Swan

swan

Appearance

Trumpeter swan is the heaviest native bird in the North American region and is one of the most giant flying birds in the world. Their wing span is 2.5 meters long and weighs upto 33lbs. They are similar to geese but have bigger necks, and feet and are much larger than geese. A swan, which is found in British Columbia part has white color feathers

They have teeth that they use to chew fish and catch fish. Both male and female swans look very similar, but males are larger in length and weigh more than female swans. Baby swans have grey color feathers.

Behavior

These birds are active during the day, and they live in small flocks.

Location

They mainly live in fresh water and eat lush vegetation. Additionally, they live in ponds, marshes, wetlands, and lakes. They don’t like to live in snow areas, but they can quickly adapt to cold temperatures. The thick sheet of feathers helps help to bear the cold temperature of -30 degree Celsius. 

Where we can find Trumpeter Swan in British Columbia

These animals in British Columbia are majorly found in North-eastern British Columbia. From the north and north-western parts of the British Columbia area, they are majorly found. They are also found at Interior Plateau and in Rocky Mountain Trench. 

Summary

Animals in British Columbia: British Columbia is one of the best places where one can find a large variety of wildlife. One of the attractive animals found in this region is Humpback whales which are a key spot for tourists.

There are around 1100 species of animals found in this region. Major vital things one can do in British Columbia are sighting bears in the forest, seeing hand-bang sheep who have curved-shaped horns, viewing thousands of eagles, sculling with whales,  deep sea diving with salmon, keep an eye on moose. 

They have the densest forest, which becomes a good shelter source for wildlife, high waterfalls, and reasonable feeding grounds help in the whale’s habitat. Mule Deer, Elk, and Bison can find easily on the roadsides of British Columbia. There are many places in British Columbia where one can see a wide variety of animals, like Liard River Hot Springs, Great Bear Rainforest, Stewart/Hyder, Vancouver Island, Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary (Grizzly bear is also found in the British Columbia region, also known as one of crucial spot for visitors). 

If you enjoyed reading about animals in British Columbia, check out animals in the North Pole and animals in Texas next!

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