Bird Watching in Southern Alberta

Blue Heron at Riverbend Campground
Blue Heron at Riverbend Campground

Growing Popularity

UPDATED – June 2023

Bird watching has become very popular in Southern Alberta. Some suggest that it has surpassed gardening in popularity. Riverbend Campground’s setting on the banks of the Sheep River features habitat that is favored by a variety of birds.  In addition to the river, we have our small lake and wetlands.  Water fowl are obvious, but we have much more.  In addition to the species you might see here there are a number of spots nearby that offer great opportunities for birders. We designed a week long bird watching staycation which you can read here

Birding Resources

To help identify birds, download the Merlin app for your smart phone. It has a feature that listens for bird calls and identifies all that it hears. It’s like Shazam fore bird calls. A great resource for information on recent sightings we recommend the eBird website. Their “hotspots page shows recent sightings and you can enter a location to zoom in on your region. That page can be seen here.

Birds Spotted at Riverbend

Here is our partial list of birds that have made an appearance.  Birds that have nested at Riverbend are indicated with a diamond (◊).  Don’t assume you can view all of these when you come for a visit, we have been compiling this list for many years.  If you see something new we would love if you told us.

Common Loon

◊Pie-Billed Grebe

American White Pelican

Trumpeter Swan

◊Canada Goose

Finch at Okotoks Riverbend Campground



American Wigeon

Northern Shoveler

◊Blue-Winged Teal

◊Green-Winged Teal

◊Cinnamon Teal

Wood Duck


Ring-Necked Duck

Osprey nesting near the lake at Riverbend Campground Okotoks
Osprey nesting near the lake at Riverbend Campground Okotoks

Lesser Scoup

Common Goldeneye

Burrow’s Goldeneye

Hooded Merganser

◊Common Merganser

◊Northern Harrier

◊Red-Tailed Hawk

◊Swanson’s Hawk

Bald Eagle


◊American Kestrel

◊Ring-Necked Pheasant

◊Gray Partridge

Riverbend Campground Okotoks
Bohemian Waxwing

Great Blue Heron

Black-Crowned Night-Heron

American Bittern


◊American Coot

Semipalmated Plover


Lesser Yellowlegs

Solitary Sandpiper

◊Spotted Sandpiper

◊Common Snipe

Franklin’s Gull

Finch at Okotoks Riverbend Campground
Finch at Okotoks Riverbend Campground

Common Tern

Black Tern

◊Mourning Dove

◊Great Horned Owl

◊Downy Woodpecker

◊Eastern Kingbird

◊Barn Swallow

◊Tree Swallow

◊Northern Rough-Winged Swallow


◊Black-Billed Magpie

American Crow

Black-Capped Chickadee

White-Breasted Nuthatch

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

◊House Wren

Brown Thrasher

Gray Catbird

◊American Robin

Swainson’s Thrush

Golden Crowned Kinglet

Water Pipit

◊Cedar Waxwing

Northern Shrike

◊European Starling

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Rumped Warbler

Black Poll Warbler

Palm Warbler

Common Yellow Throat

Oven Bird

Wilson’s Warbler

American Redstart

Western Meadowlark

◊Yellow-Headed Blackbird

◊Red-Winged Blackbird

Common Grackle

◊Brown-Headed Cowbird

Northern Oriole

American Goldfinch

Baird’s Sparrow

Black-Eyed Junco

White-Crowned Sparrow

◊House Sparrow

◊Belted Kingfisher

◊Common Flicker

◊Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

◊Hairy Woodpecker