Meet the Local Wildlife
Campbell River’s residents are more than just the people. Iconic Canadian wildlife roams the land, seas, and skies around the city. It’s entirely possible that on a lucky day you could spot a breaching whale, a bear devouring salmon or a pair of bald eagles soaring above. Consider this your wildlife watching checklist.
Pacific White Sided Dolphins
These special mammals travel in groups of 50-100 and can be spotted cruising and playing in the waters off the shores of the city. Spottings are unpredictable but are often had on a boat in the summer months.
Humpback Whales and Orca
Not to brag but our waters are home to both orcas and humpback whales. The most awe-inspiring encounters with these majestic mammals happen on a guided wildlife tour.
If you’re enjoying a day on the water chances are you’ll see sea lions. They are most commonly sighted lounging on the shores of Mitlenatch Island or surfing through the Arran rapids catching fish.
Where there’s a harbour, there’s often a seal. These creatures can sometimes be spotted from the shore on the Seawalk, at one of the City’s marinas or just bobbing along off the shores.
With ample food in the area and an abundance of trees for shelter, over 250 species of birds call Campbell River home. A variety of species can often be found in the most wooded areas while the waters of the Georgia Straight serve as prime locations for birds of prey.
If you can see a treetop in Campbell River, chances are someone might be perched above and looking back at you. The area’s famous Bald Eagles have no limits to their range and can often be spotted by simply looking to the sky and along the shorelines.
Fondly referred to as locals themselves, deer can be easily found throughout the region, in both forests and neighbourhoods. These timid animals can be easily spotted, but tread lightly as to not scare them away.
Less commonly seen, the Roosevelt Elk call Campbell River home and are the largest of the four surviving subspecies of elk in North America.
Black bears call the wilderness surrounding the city home. While it is possible to sight these animals in the wild, it is advised to take all precautions to minimize the chances of an encounter. Find more info on being bear-aware here. While grizzly bears don’t live on Vancouver Island, the city’s local operators run Grizzly watching tours to the remote inlets of Bute Inlet & Toba Inlet in the late summer and fall this is the safest way to view these amazing residents.
Each fall the salmon return to the Campbell and Quinsam Rivers, watching them return to spawn is a must-see, prime viewing time is from September-October. The best spot to watch them is at the Quinsam Fish Hatchery. Avoid walking in shallow river bed areas or allowing your pets to run through similar areas this time of year, so that key habitats aren’t disturbed for spawning fish.