Recommendations for Bird or Animal Guides for British Columbia, Canada?

I’m heading to BC, Canada in June, mostly around Vancouver, Whistler and Vancouver Island, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing animals you don’t get here in the UK! Does anyone have any recommendations for good guide books for the area?

Thank you!

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The best bird field guide that covers the region, without a doubt, is this one:

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Thank you! I’ll check that out! Any thoughts on ones covering other fauna too?

Not as familiar outside of that. I do own this mammal guide, which is pretty good, but it’s possible there are better options out there.

It may seem peripheral, but my first guide related to the Pacific Northwest was A Field Guide to the Cascades and Olympics, Whitney and Sandelin. Although its focus is on those two mountain ranges, the map includes the Vancouver Island Ranges and the Coast Mountains, which share many of the same biota.

It is far from comprehensive, but that is because it is so taxonomically broad – I remember sections on trees and shrubs, on wildflowers, on ferns, on butterflies, on herps, on birds, and finally one on mammals. The wildflower section was very non-comprehensive, as entire volumes could be written on those; but the chapter on trees and shrubs, I found was pretty complete as far as what is likely to be encountered. The bird and mammal chapters focused on those most likely to be at higher elevations.


Growing up in Vancouver, my favourite guides were:

birds: Sibley guide as mentioned above (I also loved the National Geographic guide to birds)

butterflies: Butterflies of British Columbia by Ian Sheldon and John Acorn

herps: Amphibians and Reptiles of British Columbia by Patrick T. Gregory, Brent M. Matsuda, & David M. Green

Dragonflies: Introducing The Dragonflies Of British Columbia And The Yukon by Robert Cannings

Plants: Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar & Mackinnon

Are there any other specific taxa you’re interested in?

There isn’t too much tricky-to-identify mammal diversity in the area unless you’re planning to do something specialized that will get you hands-on with rodents and bats, so just searching mammals in the area you’re visiting on inat might be enough. If you’re visiting the local mountains keep an eye out for Hoary Marmot and American Pika.


Thanks everyone for the suggestions! I’ve ordered the Sibley Guide, and I’ll take a look at the others. Really helpful :)

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