Birds Of Prey

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American Kestrel

American Kestrel, Vancouver Island, BCThe American Kestrel is Pacific Northwest’s smallest falcon, it is also, one of the most beautiful falcons. Not only is it beautiful, but it is also one of the fastest falcons of all the falcons that live or visit our coast. We see them almost daily here on Vancouver Island and they can be seen on most parts of the coast. Read More….



Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle, Vancouver Island, BCThe adult bald eagle is easy to identify but the immature birds are easily confused with the golden eagle, both have dark brown bodies but the golden eagle has a much redder color to it and his head is almost golden. It is 5 years before the bald eagle fully matures. Read More….



Barn Owl

Barn Owl, Vancouver Island, BCThe Barn Owl is a fairly small owl with a max body length of 50 cm, a wingspan of just over 1 meter, and weighs up to 1.5 kilos. Barn owls can be found all over the Pacific Northwest and over most of North America. The Barn owls northern range is limited only by the severity of winter weather and the availability of prey. Read More….



Barred Owl

Barred Owl, Vancouver Island, BCTypical Barred Owl habitat consists of forests with some mature trees near open country. Their historic range covered the eastern half of North America, but recently the owl’s range is expanding into western North America, they are now breeding in parts of the pacific northwest. Read More….



Coopers Hawk

Coopers Hawk, Vancouver Island, BCThe Cooper’s Hawk could best be described as a reluctant migrant. Although it leaves the northern portions of its breeding range in winter, it spends the non-breeding season farther north than most other hawks. There are year-round populations that inhabit the Pacific Northwest. Read More….



Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle, Vancouver Island, BCThe Golden Eagle is a very large, dark brown bird of prey. Adults are distinguished by golden-brown feathers on the back of the head, neck and upper wings. They have gold-flecked brownish eyes, the bald eagle’s eyes are much more yellow in color. Read More….



Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl, Vancouver Island, BCThis is our largest owl, the Great Gray Owl is a dark grey color with bars and flecks of light grey and white, They have a dense, fluffy plumage that, when perched, makes them look quite bulky, they have long wings that extend past the body, a fairly long tail, and a very large head. The size of the head and the prominent facial disk make the yellow eyes appear small. Read More….


Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl, Vancouver Island, BCThe Pacific Northwest has a fairly large population of Great Horned Owls but you would be considered lucky to see one. They always hunt at night and usually deep in the old-growth forests. They reside year-round in their territories on the southern coast. Read More….



Long-Eared Owl

Long Eared Owl, Vancouver Island, BCThe Long-Eared Owl is a medium-sized owl, they have long feather tufts on their heads from which they get their name. These owls are not often seen,  they hunt the deep forests at night. They are sometimes confused with the great horned owls but they are much smaller and have more light brown on the head and chest. Read More….



Merlin Falcon

Merlin, Vancouver Island, BCThe Merlin Falcon often prey on small to medium size birds, swooping down from above and grabbing the unsuspecting bird in flight. The song sparrow is the Merlin’s prey of choice. Merlin’s can be seen in most parts of the pacific northwest, but they are an uncommon bird. Read More….



Northern Goshawk

Northern Goshawk, Vancouver Island, BCThe Northern Goshawk lives in the coastal forest regions of the Pacific Northwest. This goshawk prefers coniferous forests, but will also live in deciduous and mixed forests from sea level to subalpine areas. This bird can also be seen in urban forested parks. Read More….



Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier, Vancouver Island, BCNorthern harriers can be found all across the north including all the Pacific Northwest, they prefer open country, like grasslands, wetlands, meadows, cultivated areas, and woodland forest settings. Birds in the northern part of their range will migrate south during the winter months, southern populations do not migrate. Read More….



Northern Saw-Whet Owl

Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Vancouver Island, BCThe Northern Saw-whet Owl is our smallest owl on Vancouver Island, they are around the size of an American Robin. They can be found in dense thickets or conifers, often at eye level, although they can be found around 20 feet up. Saw-whets are often in danger of being preyed upon by larger owls and raptors. Saw-whet owls are also migratory birds without any strict pattern. Read More….




Osprey, Vancouver Island, BCThe Osprey arrive in the Pacific Northwest in the first weeks of April and they have left for their winter grounds by the end of October. They nest near lakes, marshes and along the ocean shores. Read More….




Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon, Vancouver Island, BCThe peregrine falcon can be found in all parts of the pacific northwest, look for them at the forest edge and atop utility poles at the edge of the road. Adults have blue-gray wings, dark brown backs, a creamy brown colored underside with brown spots, and white faces with a black tear stripe on their cheeks. Read More….



Red-Tailed Hawk

Red Tailed Hawk, Vancouver Island, BCThe red-tailed hawk is the largest of hawks weighing an average of 1 to 2 kilos and reaching up to 65 cm in length. Its wingspan can reach up to 175 cm long. It has a dark brown crown, cheeks, back, and wings. It has a white neck, chest, and belly, and has heavy brown markings on the lower chest and flanks. Its tail is broad with a distinctive rusty red color and usually has a black bar on the end. Read More….



Sharp-Shinned Hawk

Sharp Skinned Hawk, Vancouver Island, BCThe Pacific Northwest has a permanent population of sharp-shinned hawks, but it is a rather small population. The slender, long-bodied sharp-shinned hawk has short, rounded wings and a long, narrow tail. The adult has a dark, blue-gray back and a rusty barred breast, immature hawks have more brown, with streaking on the underparts. Read More….



Short-Eared Owl

Short Eared Owl, Vancouver Island, BCShort-Eared owls prefer open meadows and wetlands to breed in. Breeding begins in March and runs through June. When short-eared owls court, they will put on elaborate displays of flight and wing clapping, this is incredible to observe. These birds primarily hunt small mammals, but they will eat small birds, birds eggs and the young will eat all sorts of insects. Read More….



Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl, Vancouver Island, BCThese large white owls breed up on the tundra in the Arctic, where the females lay up to 11 eggs in its nest. The number of eggs depends upon the amount of prey that is available in any given year. In some real lean years, these owls may not breed at all. These are tough little birds who will defend their nests against all threats including wolves, foxes or other birds of prey. Read More….



Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture, Vancouver Island, BCTurkey vultures have an extraordinary sense of smell, which enables them to find out a dead animal within 24 hours of its death. They are also empowered with sharp eyesight, which helps them to search out food. If the need arises, turkey vultures can also live on vegetation. Read More….



Western Screech Owl

Western Screech Owl, Vancouver Island, BCThe western screech owl is essentially non-migratory. On the coast, it is found in all woodland habitats, but it prefers mixed deciduous/coniferous forests, usually near a source of water. Hooting has been recorded every month on the coast but begins in earnest in February. Read More….




Birds of prey are the lords of the air realm, they are the forest hunters, the warriors, the raptors.  They are the predators that hunt with their powerful beaks, strong feet, and razor-sharp talons. They are the ones with extraordinary eyesight and incredible hearing.

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3 thoughts on “Birds Of Prey”

  1. Thanks Bud, for this clear, straight forward guide to local birds of prey.
    Saw 2 bald eagles, and 3 other large birds- either Turkey vultures or brown eagles.. couldn’t tell, I was driving on the highway 18.
    Thanks again, appreciate it

  2. Hi,

    I will be in Vancouver from 25 Sep till 6 Oct. I like wildlife photography and I am looking for a birding guide who can bring me to photography owls and bird of prets.

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