Whistler’s Winter Wildlife
While it’s true that Whistler has the best skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing around, it’s also true that this is the place to spot an abundance of winter wildlife. From friendly birds to the race to see the first bear out of hibernation, here are the most popular animals to spot out and about before the snow melts. Don’t forget to look up for more than just the birds.
They’ve had beers, townhouses, and ski runs named after them. Quite possibly the most photographed animal in Whistler next to dogs, the whiskey jack is renowned for its friendly disposition and eagerness to share your lunch. Affectionately termed “camp robbers” by locals, this bird will be your best friend on the slopes – so long as you’ve got food in your hand.
Bobcat or Lynx
A rare though not uncommon sighting, bobcats and lynx can be found anywhere in the Whistler area during the winter months as they hunt for various food sources. These generally shy cats are distinguished by their short ‘bobbed’ tail, tufted ears and brown spotted coats. Lynx are cousins of the bobcat and have the same ear tufts and short tail, although they have a grey coat and much longer legs. Don’t confuse these for cute house cats; both the lynx and bobcat can get up to thirty pounds. If you’re lucky you may see a mother with her kittens in late spring.
With a wing span of over two metres, this enormous bird commands an audience at all times of the year. Marked by distinguishing white feathers on its head and tail, yellow beak, eyes, and legs, and large talons, the iconic bald eagle can be found near lakes as they search for fish and small mammals to eat. Find them sitting in trees, soaring through the air or on the shores of small ponds. The one above was the welcoming committee at the pond near Whistler Bungee.
Perhaps the most coveted animal for photographers, locals, and visitors, the Whistler black bear hibernates through the winter and wakes in the spring. And each spring the race is on to spot the first bear after hibernation. Looks like the rumors have already started for this year. Can you guess where this one was seen?
Cover image: Justa Jeskova