Birding Tours

Welcome to our Birding Tours page.

Our latest birding posts are displayed below.

Contact birdtours@sasktel.net

Upcoming Bird Tours

Saskatoon is located where two major North American flyways meet. During the breeding season in June and July about 150 bird species occur within grassland, wetland and woodland habitats. This list is augmented during the migration months of May, August and September when boreal and arctic nesting warblers, flycatchers, vireos and shorebirds are plentiful.

American Avocet by Nick Saunders

Spectacular Sharp-tailed Grouse courtship displays are best seen in April and May. Their displays are the basis for indigenous Plains Cree dances. Elegant and endangered Whooping Cranes, North America’s tallest bird, are regularly seen from late September through mid-October.

Snowy Owl by Nick Saunders

The world’s highest concentration of Snowy Owls occurs here in winter.

We offer many Half-day, Full-day and Multi-day Guided Birding Tours throughout the year starting in Saskatoon.

  • SNOWY OWL TOUR (November – March)
  • CHICKADEE FEEDING TOUR (September – May)
  • SASKATOON WINTER BIRDING TOUR (November – March)
  • FOREST WINTER BIRDING TOUR (November – April)
  • DANCING GROUSE TOUR (April – May)
  • PRAIRIE GRASSLANDS BIRDING TOUR (May – July)
  • CHAPLIN SHOREBIRDS TOUR (May – August)
  • PRAIRIE RESERVOIRS BIRDING TOUR (May – October)
  • BEAVER CREEK BIRDING TOUR (January – December)
  • WHOOPING CRANE BIRDING TOUR (September – October)
  • SANDHILL CRANE & GEESE BIRDING TOUR (September – October)

EMAIL birdtours@sasktel.net for full details of any tour.

Please include your name, location and email address and
your approximate travel dates (if known).

All proceeds support work of our local wildlife charity – Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation.

Our expert birding tour leader, Stan Shadick, has over 30 years experience as a bird guide for nature tours around Saskatchewan. He is an author and editor of a variety of birding publications and serves on the board of several birding and nature conservation organisations. He currently holds the e-bird record for the most bird species seen in Saskatchewan.

 

Whooping and Sandhill Crane Viewing Tours

Late September - Mid October 2020

In recent years, the grain fields near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada have become the best dependable viewing location in the world to view rare Whooping Cranes, the tallest bird in North America. For many years we have found groups of 10 - 30 birds feeding during fall migration. In 2018, we found a single flock in excess of 150 whoopers! In 2019, there were several flocks totaling over 100 individuals. As local birders, we know the best historical places to search for these spectacular birds.

The population recovery of the endangered Whooping Crane has become a tremendous success story for wildlife conservation. The Canadian population of these birds once dipped as low as 21 individuals but now exceeds 500 birds.

In 2020, we are planning both 1-day and 2-day custom tours from late September through mid October to look for Whooping Cranes and/or Sandhill Cranes. These 2 species are usually found in different locations. We often find Sandhills in flocks of 500 - several thousand. We will also be on the lookout for large flocks of Canada, Cackling, Snow, Ross's and Greater White-fronted Geese as well as ducks, swans and songbirds.

What to Wear. In case of an early snowfall or cool wet weather, bring a winter coat, raincoat, hat, gloves and long underwear. Bring your binoculars and a scope (optional).

The daily custom tour fee is CDN$750 for groups of 1 - 3 persons (non-refundable) which includes transportation from a downtown Saskatoon hotel and services of a guide equipped with a spotting scope. If you provide transportation in your own personal or rented vehicle, fee is reduced to CDN$520 per day. Email birdtours@sasktel.net for information about payment options. We will stop to pick up food for lunch. All proceeds will be used to support Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation charity.

Whoopers and Sandhills

Whoopers and Sandhills

Whooping Cranes flying above Sandhill Cranes
by Nick Saunders
nicksaundersnature.com

Whooping Cranes in grain field

Whooping Cranes in grain field

Whooping Cranes
by Nick Saunders
nicksaundersnature.com

Large flock of Whoopers

Large flock of Whoopers

Part of a flock of 154 Whooping Cranes photographed by Bob Godwin.

Snow Geese flock

Snow Geese flock

Snow Geese by Bob Godwin.

Blackstrap Guided Birding Driving Tour

Situated in a glacial valley, Blackstrap Lake is fed by a canal from the South Saskatchewan river. This deep lake provides habitat in season for many species of ducks, geese, loons, grebes, pelicans, gulls and terns. Shallow sloughs near the lake provide habitat for many kinds of sandpipers and plovers. Woodlands adjacent to the lake are home to songbirds including numerous Purple Martins, Baltimore Orioles and Western Kingbirds. Rarities are often reported from this lake. Over 200 species of birds have been reported in or near this lake.

During our tour, we will drive to visit the best birding locations near this lake. Washrooms and food are available at nearby locations.

Fees. Groups of 1 – 3 people are charged a guiding fee of $65 per hour (3 hour minimum, 4 – 5 hours recommended). If you need return transportation from a Saskatoon hotel to the site, add an extra $150. Fees must be paid in advance.

Step-on Guide Service available for bus tours.

Email birdtours@sasktel.net for advance payment instructions.

All fees support Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation.

SPECIAL BLACKSTRAP BIRDS OF INTEREST

Eared Grebes

Eared Grebes

by Nick Saunders

Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwit

by Nick Saunders

Western Kingbird

Western Kingbird

by Nick Saunders

Ruddy Duck

Ruddy Duck

by Nick Saunders

American Avocet

American Avocet

by Nick Saunders

Wilson’s Phalarope

Wilson’s Phalarope

by Nick Saunders

Beaver Creek Guided Birding Tour

Beaver Creek is an attractive wooded valley with several walking trails. Here this creek flows into the South Saskatchewan River. Many native wildflowers may be found blooming here in summer. An indoor interpretive centre on site has displays and washrooms with running water.

During guided tours, we usually select the trail with the best variety of songbirds. The trails are relatively flat with stairs provided in the steeper portions.

During spring and summer months from mid-May through early-September over 60 species have been found at this location. Additional migrating songbirds may be seen in late May and late August / early September.

Fees. Groups of 1 – 3 people are charged a guiding fee of $65 per hour (3 hour minimum). If you need return transportation from a Saskatoon hotel to the site, add an extra $50. Fees must be paid in advance.

Step-on Guide Service available for bus tours.

Email birdtours@sasktel.net for advance payment instructions.

All fees support Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation.

SPECIAL BIRDS OF INTEREST

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher

by Nick Saunders

Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher

by Nick Saunders

Vesper Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow

by Nick Saunders

Clay-colored Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow

by Nick Saunders

Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee

by Nick Saunders

Veery

Veery

by Nick Saunders

Orange-crowned Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler

by Nick Saunders

American Redstart

American Redstart

by Nick Saunders