Whistler’s natural surroundings provide ideal homes for bears, birds and other wildlife. It’s not uncommon to witness a black bear wandering through the trails, mountainside or parks looking for berries. Each winter, thousands of Bald Eagles gather on the Squamish River Valley to feast on the spawning salmon. The world record for bird count was in 1994 at 3,769 in a single day!
Bears in Whistler
Chances are you might see a black bear during your stay in the resort. From mid-March to November bears are active and looking for food. Often, their appetite draws them to urban areas with garbage.
Tragically, a bear hooked on garbage is a dead bear. It is difficult to relocate a bear to another habitat once they recognize an easy source of human food. You'll notice the bear-proof litter bins throughout Whistler Village. Black bears have been living in Whistler long before any of us and they deserve our respect.
Be Bear Alert
If you are out hiking and see a black bear, try not to panic and follow these simple guidelines:
- Watch for bear tracks and droppings.
- Remain calm — you are smarter than the bear.
- Please do not try to feed or pet the bear.
- Back away slowly and never run.
- Make some noise; bears often leave when they are aware of human presence.
- Keep dogs on a leash and do not let them provoke the bear.
- Keep children near you and well-behaved.
- Always take your garbage home with you — including biodegradable items such as banana peels.
Get Bear Smart Society helps educate people in the protection of the bear community in Whistler.
Bear viewing with a professional guide showing you the way and offering explanations about Whistler's resident bears provides an excellent introduction to this majestic animal. You will get a chance to travel through the most pristine black bear habitat in North America, deep into old growth coastal hemlock-cedar forests and visit active bear dens, daybeds and feeding sites.
Birds in Whistler
Whistler is on the natural migratory route for numerous bird species from hummingbirds to bald eagles. Some birds like the Stellar's Jay, Ptarmigan and Whiskey Jack live in Whistler all year round. Keep your eyes open — their curious nature may bring them closer than you think, especially when you're eating.
The Whistler Naturalists organize numerous events including a monthly bird walk on the first Saturday of every month at the west end of Lorimer Road, near the entrance to Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church. The walk starts at 7:00 am from April to October and 8:00 am from November to March.
Make sure you don't miss the Bald Eagles in their winter home on the Squamish, Mamquam and Cheakamus Rivers. Eagle viewing is a popular winter activity with the best time for spotting being between November and March; the numbers peak in December and January with the most Bald Eagles being seen.