Grand Forks

Birds and deer on view in Grand Forks

Mule deer, white-­tailed deer and a wide range of birds can be spotted along the Kettle and Granby rivers at Grand Forks, B.C.

by Nowell Berg
California bighorn sheep
California bighorn sheep may be spotted from the highway to Grand Forks. — Photo credit: mlharing/iStock/Thinkstock photo

Grand Forks is located at the junction of the Kettle and Granby rivers in south central B.C. along Highway 3 west of Christina Lake. Not far from the U.S. border, Grand Forks boasts year-round wildlife viewing opportunities for a wide range of animals and birds.

Brian Hancock, president of the Grand Forks Wildlife Association, suggests “stay(ing) along the rivers—Granby and Kettle—you'll see a lot of birds of prey, blue herons or waterfowl and ducks.” Boothman Oxbow is a favorite wetland site for birders to view an extensive array of avian species. This area is an old oxbow of the Kettle River. When a river meanders, it may form a distinctive “U” shape similar to the harness used to secure oxen or cattle. Thus, an oxbow is a large U­shape bend in a river that forms a wetland or lake.

The period from April to September is best for viewing many songbird, woodpecker and waterfowl species. Among the many birds spotted at this site, patient birders will see bobolinks, yellow- headed blackbirds, mourning doves, western meadowlarks, marsh wrens, common yellowthroats, Virginia rails, soras and long-­billed curlews.

Reaching the Boothman Oxbow, located south of Highway 3 and east of Grand Forks, take Highway 3 almost eight kilometres east along Highway 3 until you reach Whitehall Road and turn right. After crossing over the Columbia and Western rail trail take a right and follow Whitehall South until you reach Atwood Road where you turn left and cross over the Kettle River where Gilpin Road starts. Follow it along the river to find several viewing sites of the oxbow. If birds aren't of interest, then travel north of Grand Forks into the Granby River valley to see deer. During summer months, the valley is a good place to watch for mule deer and white-­tailed deer.

You can access the North fork river valley by taking Granby Road. It’s on the east side of the river heading north from Highway 3. When traveling east or west along Highway 3 between Grand Forks and Christina Lake, the north side of the highway is a great place to spot California bighorn sheep, mule deer and white-­tailed deer. You may even spot a coyote or two that roam the area year round. If you don't see deer in the wilderness, then you will probably spot them in town, as they forage on gardens and flowers.


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